Empires Before Our Eyes (2013)

I woke up this morning,
broken cigarette unlit between my lips.
I light a dangling ember,
chemical cliff hanger,

look outside.

December white,
April skies and not the slightest
trace of you.

In this
paperback palace,
every chalice filled to
the brim with either
thirst or gin,
these walls are
like manuscripts,
made up exclusively
of antagonists who beautifully devolve,
threaten these halls, only to
brutally be
absolved in their final moments.

But their battle cries have become
our siren song,
recited long after wars have ended.

The geography of upstairs bedrooms is
just one appendix in a text-less story,
a war zone in mourning,
all for the senseless glory of
having the upper hand.

The blood soaked spokes of
chariot wheels track red
across our kitchen,
and if I stop
briefly to listen,
I can hear the
exact position your ghosts spoke
their dying monologues,
riddlesome cinderblocks
of inspiration
crying in my arms as we watched
our empire fall before
our eyes.

It was only as you died you began
to realize I had to
continue on
through smoke alarms and
fallen street lights,
inhaling debris where the
markets we’d eat
used to stand.

Now it’s rubble and chaos, limps flailing
under piles of rocks,
and I can’t find
the courage to compare my
petty burdens to the

near-complete collapse
of certainty.

Street signs,
emergency crews deliver
me from calm,
lest I retreat into
any thoughts that
offer comfort to
this scene.


2 thoughts on “Empires Before Our Eyes (2013)

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