Listening for What the Walls Might Say

Christine Irving

 

I shelter in the shade of a simple city stanchion

scrubbed clean of spray paint, no hidden messages

embedded in graffiti’s clamor,

no angry chorus of complaints

or self-asserting signatures. Once,

not long ago, the luster of their neon tweets

made living possible, built a kind of harmony

from chaos, a frame to offer common ground.

Those kinds of times make one embrace

anything the heartless west can offer;

join, clasp, and serve whatever cause

bestows some sense of family, camaraderie or care,

trust false gods and all the tender sounding prophets

who write their names on subway walls.

They got me through, till I clawed out

and fell from bitter want into this better life

I am so thankful to receive.

Later, I’ll walk on home, eat a platter of fried chicken,

served with ice cream and a scoop of love,

but right now, back against this pillar,

I fail to fathom the weave of fragile happenstance.

I am still listening for what the walls might say,

What enabled this bright singing?  And though

I can’t help smiling at sweet fortune’s turn, I wonder

if those vanished urban day-glow scribblings

are done with prophesy and me?

 

 


Christine Irving writes novels, plays and travel pieces, and you can sometimes find her in her studio pasting together a collage, though her favorite métier is poetry. Christine is the author of: Be a Teller of Tales, Sitting on the Hag Site: A Celtic Knot of Poems, You Can Tell a Crone by Her Cackle, and The Naked Man (on Amazon and Kindle). Her newest work Return to Inanna is undergoing its final proof.