Borrowed Horoscope: San Juan
I spend a week on a houseboat as if
my truths are all burned, and I'm free
to lie. My journal says Romans were
our first tourists, that souvenirs were
the only proof that they didn't spend
their last years in prisons. I write just
to look at the splendor of my penmanship,
the Caribbean waves crashing inside comfort
rented by the week. It has only stormed
one night here and the shore became a blur,
a blind man's deathbed attended by dozens
of dark crows. Then calm returns, remains.
It is not what I expected, this smooth cheek
of a day never to wear a beard, never to host
my dead days. Poor Noah, sailor never to know
one small sea, water without interpreter. At night
I dream of priests carrying lost letters from home
on backs of sharks as black as the crows.
Lost in thoughts by the Lincoln Park Zoo,
I startle pigeons feasting on bread crumbs.
They scatter in four or more directions.
"Bird scarer," an old woman hisses at me.
I feel cursed for the year. She sits to wait for
the return of those who count on her blessings,
gray rats with wings, citified albatrosses.
I can't go home (I'm a bird scarer). Better to
hit a dance club, that loud denial of reality.
Carol's Speakeasy or the club down
the street that changes its name weekly?
Yes, that one, This week it is Pegasus
and not The Bat Cave. The bouncer nods
as if a Pope-in-training, and I enter a world
without clocks or bill collectors (but for
the bartender). I'm here, wherever that is,
where everyone dresses in black like vampires.
For seven days I seek that old lady, but she is
gone, vanished in a city that wears ambulances
like costume jewelry. Her pigeons remain,
sure of the bread that will be theirs--sooner
or less sooner. This bird scarer leaves
the park to the scattering feathers that grip the light
and own the joy of movement that human
architecture, even at its best, will never know.
I intend to scare myself. I begin writing again.