The bespectacled elite gathered in the glassy box
of modern architecture, prattling politely about the
poet’s new novel, analyzing psychoanalysts and
parsing the layers of rhetoric that shaped the modern age.
The high-speed spreading at high school debates
served as a high-minded metaphor of linguistic legerdemain,
contained a critique of the vacuity of the era’s political speech.
Outside, a panhandler begged for bites of a breakfast sandwich.
Something's rotten in Denmark,
maybe something awash on the beach
in a country where you're never
more than 52 kilometers from the ocean.
Møns Klint stands a spectacular natural wonder
overlooking the endless expanse of the Baltic Sea,
an imposing facade of white chalky cliffs
towering over the vast teal expanse of water.
There's 120 meters
and then there's 120 meters
to the horizonless sea below.
The glaciers of geological prehistory
gave us a stunning sweep, as breathtaking
a seaside vista as you will ever see.
The wind knows
the rustle of the oak boughs,
the susurrus of the prairie grass,
the fragrance of the wildflowers,
the stillness at the edge of the lagoon.
The wind knows
the trilling of the warblers flitting through the tallgrass,
this flat and endless expanse of verdant, sun-bathed flora,
this kingdom of wide-open spaces, the big empty,
these geographies that define us, within and without.
we failed you.
You failed us.
We all failed and not better.
Our woebegone ways
failed everyone around us.
In the bloom of youth, we were all awkward and weird
and contrived in our own inexplicable and ineluctable ways.
We were all sunglassed fictions, heroes in our own heads
and less than that in the slow gnaw and chomp of reality.
We might croon, leather-jacketed, about the dawn before a disinterested audience of wights, hollow-eyed and resigned.
We might jam on a Casio keyboard atop a file cabinet
and hope, idly, someone, someday, might eventually get it.
Cardboard boxes proliferate
all across the empty room
awash with acid sunlight.
Every ending is a new
beginning, every conclusion
a fresh start, a blank slate.
All that serrated packing tape
signifies something more than back
strain and a change of address form.
The long-running, much-celebrated show
turned out not to be a metaphor
for climate change, feminist empowerment
or anything anyone at all hoped for really.
The show turned out to be just a symbol for itself,
for failed institutions, institutional disappointments,
a theme mined by a much better HBO program
that ended its run years and years and years ago.
Viewers were up in arms everywhere over errant
character arcs, unearned twists, abandoned storylines,
forsaken backstories, squandered character development,
the burning detritus of lazy writing atop a pile of false promises.
Every institution fails you in the end.
In the end, no matter how much it seems like a marble pillar
or Valyrian steel forged in a furnace of dragonfire,
every institution ultimately fails you in the end.