Today's poem is by Christopher Matthews

Washington D.C.

To the muggy epic April sunset,
to these handmade gods with their concrete stare
and mountainous turns of the head,

citizens lug nothing but their bodies
and a hunger for hot-dogs. An infantry
in bronze patrols the cherry blossoms

and hoofs it toward Roosevelt's
flat little ground-level monument.
Schoolboys there file themselves among more

bronze men slouching in a bronze breadline.
Oh, you ideas. Oh you
things in the shape of ideas. Me,

I'm ripe to be wooed to think ideas
are, after all, my nation—this sultry
unscheduled homecoming, this one-night stand

with the immaterial. They say it's spring
we're all about to disappear into,
and late at night, some woman in the street

outside the hotel cries out almost as if
against this disappearing, with almost the cry
of a B-movie damsel about to be made

into art, sunk in wax to render up
these precisely uncanny resemblances.
Or it might just be the cry of something

mechanical, a platform lowering or raising
automatically. But the way it fills
the little cathedral of the corner store's

padlocked doorway with its exhaust—
the way it unfolds itself against the walls
where it stays, hangs, and hums—

sounds human. To me. I envy it

this. Or something. Oh, something. Above,
in the tinted lofts, people I envy
shudder and sidle with beautiful effort

to a music called technological,
and the beat seems to be the booming product of
rather than the cause of just

a little human thrusting. There's courage,
or something, in this. Even
the appetites of clerks are allowed

to produce the sounds of things being built.

Copyright © 2005 Christopher Matthews All rights reserved
from Quarterly West
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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