The pieces of my life collected quick and warmJerky slippery snatches from the floor to sweaty palms
To battered bags swinging-swerving on taxi heads
Like balanced pitchers of water that some women fetch
Hard-won from some hellish hole. Their feet mists of silver bells
That ring the distance in jingles, unnerving small but shrill.
My palate lined with the parchment tastes of dustAnd insidious industrial discharges, car exhausts,
Effluvia from open-drain borders of slums
Passively smoked into my life and its shiny flotsam.
Preserved for eternities the entire shapes of smells
Sucked into them. Likewise the jingles of silver anklet bells.
Into some narrow alley, brick and debris strewn,
Complex curves and double bends of totally unknown
But well thumbed cities unfathomed like a page
Of foreign literature. Into the alleys of some language
That takes my broken pieces and then redesigns
The sameness of the same life in its secret signs.
Burrowing into the wide sweep of fields and parks
And parking lots. Into the clench of steely perks
Thrown down at the rootless folk of spotless lives
Gripped and squeezed to check which broken part survives
And rides the taxi head again, leftover tough,
And again the silvery shrill jingles to see it off.
From wavy windsock to wavy clouds, from strips of sea
To strips of land and landmarks. Toting the debris
And within each speck the preserved tastes and smells
Drawn up from some hellish well, each speck repels
The others, like magnet poles. And yet separated
Each one slots into place. The same life replicated.
From continent to continent, from town to town
It’s gone around but it never came around.
Still the broken shards strain apart, rigidly swerve
In the trunks of cars, holds of planes, in loops and curves
Of strange alphabets and the haunting poems created
From them. The tautness beyond grasp and complicated.