(Enthralled on a Thursday—in a third-world abode):
I remember the marvel—murkiness notwithstanding
with which I was wooed—by the wonder of art.
Befuddled and fawning—over the French of Baudelaire
enmeshed until midnight—by the mythical Tolkien
spellbound and soaring— with the Song of the Earth;
with the grandeur and gusto—of the gracious Dalí
or the deepest indictments—in the deft hands of Kundera.
(In a plane that’s departing; in pensive insomnia):
I ruminate ruefully; for in my roaming and travels
broke and bright-eyed; brimming with youth
when walking, just wandering; in the walkways of Prague,
when traipsing in trains; timidly through Germany,
when nervously nearing; those nebulous borders
I wouldn’t have wagered; nor wondered ever
this noxious notion; that nations would sour.
(In a brownstone in Brooklyn. Brooding on weekends):
This breaking of brethren. Buried for long now,
or so I thought, threatens. A thorn in our present.
And perhaps it happens. Some heinous characters
tarnish all with terror. And the trust then crumbles.
Arise despicable parties. Peddling the hatred,
seeking to tear asunder. Not salvage our peace,
but to shatter our shelters. And the sharing of Culture.
(In a queue for questioning: quivering with anxiety):
In this baleful bleakness: this blackening of hearts.
In this anxious ardor: this aura of menace.
We can’t cower: though courage is lacking
when displaced and disparaged: when impunity reigns.
Our world heritage is hallowed: we haven’t a reason
to lose our first love: the lore of the ages.
And heal this, our hell: make whole what is tatters.