by Ed Roberson
1 season opener
The ants are licking open the peonies
unwrapping the seal to the tight globes
of bloom they gang up on
and chase away a ladybug
I can sit here on the porch stoop
as on the step of an amphitheater
and watch ours
is a great sports city the tour
guides say even the house roofs
are bleachers some ball is always in the air
ready to open its colors
fragrance like stadium food
scent reaches the street our mouths drop
open tongues about to do the work
The wind is so high,
the lake surface contracts
in a gasp
The waves jump straight up.
Our side must be winning.
I can't hear
the crowd of whitecap I see
from the bus run
The joggers and cyclists
look as though hysterically
themselves, the news
and breaking sound that maybe
There's not another side
to water nor to the whole of
what we play
We field against a fog,
or, the home game in solids, ice
in a change of uniform
We contend against what is
and is ourselves though
We want a side that isn't
ours to have of
the universe to have us on our feet
like the waves cheering on
this morning this morning
We want our messengers
to lie a pool of good news
at our feet for us to walk
open. Our winnings
winning or not: still won a life
that lets us live it
the excitement of winged ankles,
seas of dancing streets in the envelope.
When the waves jumped straight up, the messenger
Sand smashed them to pieces for winning
When the surface fainted back, the stampeding
Sky sank its foot in that face to leave winning
There were two countless words for the score
You hear the roar of silence over winning
Someone screaming, What are you doing, what are you
Doing Something answers, I am winning.
Doing nothing is thrown out the window
To eliminate that way to deal with winning
We burned gridlocked cars in Morse code before
We took off running to say living is winning
Lake Shore Drive reads Chicago is 'living
life city' (quoting the song) winning.
The whole street ladies
lay afloat in the gondola
stroll of their own legs
the daylit lanterns of their dreams
hide inexpressibly their faces made up
with not being in Kansas
they fan with maps
like feathers of brightly colored directions
to famous brands
of which this street is
that one direction. And all one direction
only— no movement.
as if, since people move, there are no people
on this street; the stalks of the buildings, reeds
a hem of the lake sweeps through.
daylight you see people's
reflections off each other fill the street
cascading one from another
the crowd slips like a fan out of itself,
in the angling of store displays
the glass facets kaleidoscope a rose
of themselves full of the flash petals of grace
that fall by evening home,
when the ones dressed in evening
wear possession-less and so, without
reflection here take all the empties back
all the want and people scavenged back
off the streets into these who dine with starving off the streets
The street in the opening between buildings
is running a strip of the el like a frame
by frame tape, the windows of the train
different shots of the sky, then it breaks,
and the clouds are caught up in the walls
of nearby glass-skin architecture.
I never get to see what I think
would be the whole movie. I, too, move on.
The turns in the drive roll the buildings
out from behind one another in a scenery
change, only I am the one on wheels,
the drop backs a larger stage than this town.
And just as I can see betrayal coming
by the music, my eyes braille the thunder
hidden even up the sleeve of a silent
film. The hand shakes anyway. Not meant
to be the end of things. An inbound train
toward the loop will be arriving shortly.
The street in the opening
The John Hancock Building has never struck
the actual oil it looks like it should.
Wildcatters call this a dry hole. But it isn't,
it has the pool of Lake Michigan
on the bottom when you're looking from the top
What an amazing hole, he said. Enchantment's name
to call into what we all are looking for, a spell
to an opening as deep into seeing.
He had the gift of new first time in a city,
pick pockets hadn't sighted yet the eyes,
the bulging wealth of openness, the shiny change.
We were watching the old movie of our century.
—our village root, the well's drawn-words drip
into volumes in our pack trying to solve our plot.
A close-up on the winch-rope, frayed
by so continuously raising the question,
cuts off not to mislead the viewer; and screened
on our bodies, the billboard buses, city wall—
the crude that is this day struck from our drilling
All over everything the sun rises funny.
I heard the eagle flies on Friday as
the eagle shits on Friday where I lived.
Not enough for any growth to get paid
its flowers. Mostly weed. Bouquet of distraction.
Broken glass season gives way to plastic
in the lots, only the packaging changes,
it snows something or other year round
white to deal with, powder or rock. Or through
the window, the country unable to stop
opening its poverties, making the sun go 'round
to the back. But the sun reserves its someday
someday to shine where door don' 'llow light.
And I am drenched by a slow, barely brought in
gusher of my working through the cracks,
a gold opened in myself like a vein through
blinding pain, through the names of need and silence.
But my someday come seems didn't
when the hit is only mine, not also enough of to my brothers.
wave, smoothed free of everything
but the slowest curve
barely less than earth's
a surf-less silence
we can see—
clear bright yet shimmering—stillness as.
Stillness as a dangerous surface enough!
a floor walked all night
clear to the end of nowhere got to get my hands on some
no place except where
money from somewhere
to get me over this hump
an arm swipes
everything off the table to
this floor the hit bottom come to
the surface on the table