Waiting for the 1950 Sea Beach Express to bear me back through the decades, I paced the elevated station, scanning each paint-peeled fire-escape, each box of light in the shabby brick walk-ups of the Brooklyn I recalled.
How dare the place desert me (though I'd not gone there for years);
the tracks desert me as well, the obsolete name of
that train? I was ready, yes, ready to flee that place
once again when I slid from the platform's edge down a shaft
into the well-preserved ruins of a round & rose-colored city
built entirely from stone, its streets hushed, on its carved
stoops a few men & women who bent their heads over newspapers,
neither greeting me nor shooing me away.
Not a duplicate, not a reversal, ghost, nor indeed a surprise:
I"d long suspected that city's presence below
the cracked pavement, kept building it even when I strayed far from
where I'd played chalk-scrawled street games; sometimes caught
glimpses behind the gates of dreams, noting its resemblance to
ancient cities I"d seen on the other side of the world.
So despite my elaborate blueprints, I knew: my secret city was far
Yet I stubbornly clung to that mythical chance, fearing the risk
of a visit, of confessing that few out of all who've
lived on this planet could claim mindscapes that were unique&
none that were supreme.
And soon the old and new stories took their places along the rose-colored
Circe's power to enchant, the Medusa"s flair
for petrifying glances in the same
space of mind
as the power of those particles called
to decay into muons, transform themselves
to neutrinos, allegedly ubiquitous
though not one has yet been seen.
Shiva's cosmic dance/ the spin of particles
Flying horses, a one-eyed giant/ brown
& white dwarfs, balls of solidified
Ariadne's guiding thread/ superstrings
The voracious appetites of minotaurs
& sphinxes/ black holes.
Labyrinths/ invisible tunnels.
Oracles/ tachyons, virtual particles, DNA.
And the pageant kept moving like time itself towards a new blend
of the legendary old, legendary new.
I confess that when my rose-colored streets swarmed with too many
stories at once, I looked for gaps so perhaps I could
catch one of those old Brooklyn streets, but quickly returned
to the cene below so I could watch Hermes of the winged sandals fly off
in his usual way after brief pause at the wormhole display, its
promise of instant message relay throughout spacetime; watch
Teiresias cock his ear: not only for birdsong but the faint refrains of
If I wait long enough surely that old Coney Island boardwalk would
return, its carnival of myths, what I saw through
enchanted eyes co-exist with the latest antics on a telescope's
Better yet a brand new mock-parachute, its umbrellas the silk of
the spheres, that soared through the lid of the sky
before a new cluster of stars shot like fireworks the naked eye
could watch burn clear through the old streets' cement: Bracelets
of gems for the towers the domed roofs of my rose-colored