Two Poems by Louis Daniel Brodsky
Pharaonic Curse: Megalopolis
Traveling into the city, by car,
I pass through a zone
Shrouded by mist lifting, hysterically,
In low-swirling whirlpools,
As though a lonely apotheosis of the Apocalypse
Had chosen to waylay me
Or, somehow, a necromancer had distracted me,
Caused my ship to veer off course,
Orbit primordial Jupiter,
Trapped in the interstices between two of its moons—
Stygian visions rising from morning's miasma.
For miles, I drive lightheaded,
Blind as an owl minus its dormant wisdom,
In fact, frightened by the persistent mist
Refusing to dissipate despite an insistent sun
Shredding Earth's flesh, with its claw-tipped rays.
Whether omen, oracle, or vagary
Is sifting up from the wellsprings of paranoia,
I know only that no overcast
Has ever lasted seventy-five miles
Nor polluted haze, like an extended plague of locusts,
Swarmed my imagination, so far away.
The granite strata through which I pass,
This too-warm Wednesday morning
Midway into February,
Expose their shattered patterns.
In them, I see my own anfractuousness,
Envision irregular designs
Beneath my well-seamed flesh.
As I meander up the highway,
Unreleased from sleep's keeping,
Drowsy as a drugged streetwalker,
And repeatedly smooth through jagged ravines—
Debris left by blasting crews,
Scars inflicted, viciously, by humans,
On nature's supplely muscled belly and chest—
My senses detect uneasy queasiness
Welling from the depths
Below the psyche's bastion,
Almost as though an unknown volcano
Were set to explode.
Is closing in on me, I don't know,
Lest it be fate's Red Sea,
Paralleling the highway I navigate,
Previously held back
By these chiseled cliffs,
Within whose shadowy banks I flee.
Suddenly, the sky is opaque, arterial.
My heartbeat drowns beneath its closing waters.
Louis Daniel Brodsky