Houston

"My trees, dangling their leaves turgidly over the earth
like cooks trickling dishwater off their fingertips; hot businessmen
walking through the sun-soaked scenes sweatingly wet
in their long-sleeved, starched white shirts, beside them
the most beautiful ladies, manners laden with ooze.

A cesspool of insanities I am,
mildew capital of the world,
a compost heap with streets
running through it, particularly 
after the rains, soaked
and drenched
through and through.
You could rinse your clothes in the air,
then bake them dry for timeless months.

Yet I am she whom Ancient Rome might once have been, if she had not drunk
the eternal newness of life mingled with dog's milk. I am Babylon's dream of
becoming, before she had to go back to being merely Babylon again.

My merciless kindnesses, red with blood,
spill over the pocketbooks and puddle up
on doorstoops in the midnight neighborhoods.

I am the toads'-dwelling laughableness inscribed
on the base of a stone, reaching for the stars."



by Robert Hampton Burt
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