Hope

Again it’s been too long since I’ve tended this WordPress garden.


 

 

They set out with no notion of what awaited, they had heard the streets were paved with gold or mud, that the new world was paradise or it was a graveyard tended by plague and cutthroats, promised land or hell, and in between lay a purgatory of desperate ocean, miles across but miles deep as well and the journey had the potential to go in either direction, that the journey was salvation or it was doom, and they set out into the unknown trembling with bravado and seasickness, and the drink ran out and then the food ran out, and when it failed to rain the water, and if it wasn’t hunger and dehydration it was the interminable rolling, and if it wasn’t the motion it was the rats, and if it wasn’t the rats it was the stinging flies, and if not it was the endless unflinching horizon mocking their eyes from every direction and the tireless monotony, and about halfway across the ocean they left behind conversations about what lay ahead in Eden or hell and retreated to the privacy of their thoughts, and at about the two-thirds mark they left rape in the wake for the stench of their fellow travelers was unbearable and they were clothed in tattered sores, and theft too for there was nothing of value and nowhere to hide it, and murder because one person would be missed and an extra corpse inconvenient, and they clung in the desperate hold to their book and on the sun-scorched decks to the rails and retched out the last of their pride and greed and lust as the sky heard the evidence and the sun judged and the ocean yawned wide to receive their sins, but at the first call of seagulls and tender whiff of brackish mud on the offshore breeze hope returned with a vengeance, and into the new world pulled a battered boat filled with liars, thieves and cutthroats, purified by the worst that was now behind them and the conviction that mere survival was divine decree that the sprawling garden that received them was theirs.

Where We Live

From my travels in your dark heart

And every thing I’ve seen within

Among a million memories most clear

Are moments I met your eyes

Lucid wondering

Leering enticing

Bored guarded

Exhausted measuring

Aggravated yearning

Hopeful angry

Wielded alluring

Eager innocent

Lost vengeful

Delusional petrified

Tearful promising

Distant cutting

Wandering shining

Young callous

Rebellious derisive

Abashed urgent

Hungry ancient

Broken exultant

Level gazes and economic appraisals

In a town where up and down

Are the norm, instant fleeting

Entanglements, lives together

Lived in a shiver of a moment

And the shrug of a heartbeat

Lost to the turn of a corner or

The shutting of a subway door

Capricious loves lavished and quenched

Promised eternities foiled by a stray eyelash

A speck of dust in the whirlwind

Or an inverted umbrella

Always another, next more

Behind beyond again forever

Packed together we who watch

Will watch, and witness ourselves

In crescent moments of accident

And sliver heartbeats of insight

And know where we live

.

By Jason Anderson

How hungry next time?

This crazy place where gold sits in plain view beside an ideal

And a hungry man steals the ideal

Makes from it a simple piece and wears it proudly in the streets

For everyone to admire.

.

How hungry must he be to let gold hang from someone else’s neck

To leave it on the field

To let it gild marble walls and lofty altars

And languish in vaults?

.

How hungry to toss together rickety foundations of refuse

And mounting them, raise a naked fist

To a smiling sky

That showers golden stardust on the sated

And leaves the famished to die?

.

How hungry must he be, next time walls fall

To leave gold to the rubble

And build something of value

Beneath the smiling sky?

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Jason Anderson, 2014

Downpour

Bright-eyed gods looked on

As angels fell in legions

Men shadowed along in haste

Their pursuers left at the turning light

And their power outpaced, they ran free

Casting angels from their hair and chins

.

By Jason Anderson

Prologue

So if you’re a writer, tell me a story, he said.

I’m afraid I can’t.

Can’t you? Did you run out of stories?

Run out? They’re backed up in my head like subway riders at rush hour turnstiles. They come and go like the flashes of light in the tunnels. They give me sidelong, seductive glances and then are gone at the next stop, or the one after, without looking back. Dozens, dare I say hundreds, every day.

So tell me one.

That’s just it. I want to tell you all of them. What would just one mean? How can I pick? Would it be the right one?

The right one?

The one you need to hear.

The boy laughed, a bright chattering bell above the trundle of the subway train. What if I want to hear all of them?

Well. How far are you going, my friend?

I’m going to the end of the line.

Unfortunately the next stop might be mine, or the one after.

Then you better get started.

Do you want one with a moral, or do you just want to be entertained?

How about one with a superhero?

Ah, a little of both. Alright then. Once there was a small boy with unruly blond hair and green eyes. A green that you don’t see very often — never, in fact. Aventurine.

His name was Sebastian.

One day his father accompanied him on a class trip. There they were on the 4 train, Sebastian, his father, his teacher, and the entire first grade class at St. Athanasius School. Across the aisle, leaning against the door reading, Sebastian saw a young man, perhaps a college student, scruffy and unkempt. Sebastian couldn’t take his eyes off this stranger, and why do you think?

His eyes were the same shade as Sebastian’s. Aventurine. The sort of green you never see. The sort of green Sebastian had been searching peoples’ eyes for since he first realized exactly how uncommon they were.

Are you finding this one interesting so far?

I don’t know yet. Just tell it.

It all started when the doors opened at 14th Street…

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©2014 Jason Anderson

New world

A world exists in a subway car

And from hemisphere to hemisphere

Tourists stare

At picture postcards of cities

They’ve never known

Unguarded, uninvasive

Behind borders

They will never cross

Down foreign streets

Where they never go

.

By Jason Anderson

Late February, Bryant Park

The Zamboni is on the ice

And I think of how much like my writing

Is that glass surface

Through a milky cloud obfuscating

A depth of urgent meaning

In unripe spring

And I want the laughing children

To come out quickly

And skate once more before the thaw

.

By Jason Anderson