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Portrait of The City in Gray
Oh I have stayed too long with this mistress,
over long in her arms have I lain
for she no longer coos to console me.
Her faded charms are now sweaty and plain
Once, long ago, she wooed me
with a song pledging her love and her heart.
She sang of parades of beautiful people
while strumming on a golden harp.
Neon signs, winking lights, tinted windows,
all seemed so dazzling and joyous before,
but now show to me my mistress who looks
like a painted and gaudy old whore.
Her smile is a smirk in the daylight,
her rosy cheeks…thick with rouge in the sun.
Her dimples become wrinkles each dawning.
Her veil of lies becomes a prison for some.
Oh I have seen her plastic and cement canyons
where concrete walls cover skeletons of steel
and the grim faced people who wait there
for Sysiphus to return from the hill.
Night sirens go screaming through these canyons,
like vultures on carrion scent,
singing the song of the city
telling of free hands never taken nor lent.
The city’s parks, like red herrings, remind me
of the colors on a coral snake’s back;
trying to hide the vicious intent from the mouse
while the serpent coils to attack.
Her brown skies lie heavy on drooping trees.
Rotting benches and yellow grass for the weary.
Dull eyed sparrows sit coughing on limbs
chirping low , “Not to be. Not to be.”
Surely no weed is more hardy,
no condor more impassioned to fly,
than a city, so ruthless in its growing,
is determined to swell and multiply.
In symbiotic relationship the suburbs grow
around the city with row upon row
upon row upon row of rows and rows
of sweet little, petite little, houses in rows.
But all these sweet little, petite little houses
are not homes, for they are not as they seem,
they are funeral urns for the walking dead
with their stillborn hopes and dying dreams.
Grant Wood misplaced that infamous couple;
no farmhouse behind them should stand
for those faces were carved in the city
devoid of the essence of man.
I ache for the song of the open field
where the harmony of land and sky
is never muted by smog or the factory whistle,
where the rhythm of nature is the binding tie.
Yet here I lay passive in the arms of this mistress
knowing full well the price of each moment’s delay.
I must leap from her bed without paying too dearly
or stay and finish her portrait in gray.
Submitted by Snodeel on June 06, 2021
Modified on April 28, 2023
- 2:08 min read
- 334 Views
|Scheme||ABCB CXDX EFXF XXGX HXXX HICI CJXJ XCXC CKGK LLEE XXXX DXCX XKDK AMCM|
|Closest metre||Iambic pentameter|
|Stanza Lengths||4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4|
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"Portrait of The City in Gray" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Jun 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/101999/portrait-of-the-city-in-gray>.
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