Requiem for the City

April 30, 1992
Los Angeles

There should be slim-wristed dancers,
And mournful music on reed pipes
And food to propitiate the ghosts
But I am left alone to perform the rites.
In the rubble of what-might-have-been
I stand and raise my cracked voice and sing.
I am no Orpheus,
My voice does not bring resurrection.
I can only echo the soul-song,
The dirge of Isis
Funeral tribute to a dead God.
Here once children played among the grass
But now the wind blows only ash and memory.
The sky should be full of ravens.
But not even weeds grow in the cracked concrete
And the parched asphalt is too barren for even broken dreams.
All the temples are empty.
The moon looms sickly
Like a cheap fluorescent light.

I can trace my footsteps in the dust.
There should be drums and wailing
But there is only my voice
Not loud enough to guarantee
Entry into paradise.

--Evil Catullus

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