CAL ANDERSON PARK
The water tumbles down the conical
Coal-dust-coloured fountain; after trickling
Between up-jutting stones it stands, a pale
Penumbra, rendering a flickering
Of streams of light from the nearest of the lamps.
This park’s guitarists, lovers, frolicking
Dogs. Its shirtless would-be Frisbee champs.
Its joggers, strollers, chess combatants, moss-
stubbled boulders, and its child who stamps
His feet and wails. The mixture, there across
Eleventh, of façades both new and old—
The nineteen-twenties brick alongside dross
Heaved up five minutes ago as condos, sold.
These lines, of trees and benches, lamps and pathways.
Illiberal zoning lingers to withhold
Construction of much anything that strays
Above the generous canopy of trees
Lining Eleventh. This, in effect, arrays—
Excepting for the mild trajectories
Of spires, antenna towers—a subsigned,
Whole other line. Or else it’s that one sees
The whole park mounted, framed; or feels confined
In someone’s morbid science fiction zoo
(Both Vonnegut and “Star Trek” come to mind).
The fountain, as it gathers darkness to
Itself, transmutes, and now a whitebeard drools
In wind. The water only stays in view
When moving through the lamplight, which now pools
Upon its surface: one discerns a swell
Of soldiers, as in old fast-motion spools
Of wartime battle footage, as they pummel
Forward, are cut down by the pursuant
Gloaming. Then the stillness: aquarelle
Of silence as a skin of depth and scale,
Impervious, a living death in oil.