What Happens to the Future

There is no future.
It’s that simple. New Orleans
humps its sodden past

through every razored
moment as we wander down
Canal Street towards

the winter river running
sick with mid-western flux and sweat.
And the rain that falls

is ever new and to no purpose
under heaven, each cold
drop a wanderer whose

slow birth and grand fall
never leave the eternal now.
The past is no more

real, though it presses
caput mortuum against
the mossy slickness

of our eyes, sweated
from every brick and sinter.
Oswald stood curbed

by his pique just there,
Marxist pamphlets and orphan
pain in either hand,

the cool of Texas
autumn already shambling
through the dimestore wool

of his suit. A few
gray blocks east Faulkner crouched
on a balcony

with a BB gun
in the malice of his youth
and shot at lonely tourists

musing in Jackson
Square. The lamentable past
is better lost, and

the city does as
it has always done, slouching
towards oblivion

to withdraw among
the swamps where the long shadows
grow. We ride the dark

ferry alone, cold
in our cups and infinite
in mathematical

joy, the great diesels
driving us like a blunt plow
across the currents

and quick compulsions,
as unaware of the black
river as it is

of orchids or us
or where it has been or where
it will ever be.

 

 

 

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