On sad suburban afternoons of autumn,
the piercings, leather and tattoos that bought
these bungalows from mixing bowls and golf
barbeque and drink beer, watch football, eat,
laugh like ponies--everything has changed
and not a lot except which music blares
through the meat-scented smoke and streaks of sun.
Big motorcyles drip dark staining oil
where Oldsmobiles once waited between breakdowns.
Slightly aslant on windows are the self-
adhesive souvenirs of stadium concerts
by rockers getting osteoporosis;
T-shirts advertise five-pointed leaves;
kids are neglected in the age-old ways,
unkempt and shrieking as they run--or older,
buy their own weed, sneak drinks, ditch school and fuck.
In front yards, back yards, alleys and dead ends
may all these signs convince the distant gods--
or Fate, or The Fates, an absent "G-d," a Christ
somewhere or other, not right here, an Allah
with gnashing prophets, or a great magician,
or the chance events that can destroy a life--
that there's no need to bring down any more
than customary miseries and brief
illusions of good luck on such old, young,
different, same, frail creatures of a day.
first appeared in Ontario Review #62
republished with author's permission