..... poetry .....



"Five Suits And A Witness"

Time was suspended 
    as my car moved blithely along its 
    well-worn route to work 
When my eye seized upon a sight that 
    is usually saved for the silver screen,
The corner of my eye somehow parsing
    two speeds of reality.   
I caught a glimpse of a solemn, middle-aged man
    behind a lectern and four younger men
    in identical black suits, 
    standing and listening attentively,
    right in front of him like a devoted flock,     
While a woman in a grey suit and clipboard
    stood dutifully to the side of the leader, 
    her appearance conjuring up the image of an  
    Angelic Witness.  

It looked, and felt just like a funeral, 
    minus, of course
        the casket,
        the weeping women,
        and the deferential groundskeepers.

What I happened upon was a dedication,
    an inauguration of Corporate America's latest effort to  
    provide a sliver of public space.
A necessary part of their corporate image, no doubt...

A very austere piece of real estate along a busy
    thoroughfare, with
        just enough design to warrant an architect,
        just enough foliage to require a gardener, and 
        just enough benches to draw the pigeons out. 
I pass by this mini-park everyday on my way to work,
    still haunted by that vision I saw years ago. 
I suspect that others might feel the desolation that was 
    poured into that little plot of land.
Why else would I have never seen
    more than one soul there at a time?
Sometimes, though,
    I see a bass clarinetist serenading
    those austere sculptures,
    doing his best to be a different kind of witness...

November 2010



©2010, Michael Smolens