March 24, 2008

Setting Out

I set out, not for Byzantium, those lingering cartographies of bygone lives,
the lyric ruin of cities, the icons and burnt calligraphies of bygone lives.

I set out for New World opportunity, aerobic energy, fruit-flavored coffees,
perfected trilogies, imperfect in the piecemeal biographies of bygone lives.

I set out for those highways veering off byways, deer on patches of grass,
new News with a seductive prize, hard to imagine in the mysteries of bygone lives.

I set out for happiness, the flesh in love, couldn’t get enough. Raw gifts
in silk, lipsticks, the one-way tickets, had me craving the bodies of bygone lives.

I set out for the city, lost my wallet, passport, VISA, any evidence of my name,
backtracked, discovered that I lacked tact, hard facts, the histories of bygone lives.

I set out without a map, just stories, like this one, that Byzantium was holy, the sages
artful, drunk as the goldsmiths in love with the glories of bygone lives.

But here, far from any ancient place, here where we refuse to age and I buy scented
products for my face, my name is cut short despite the memories of bygone lives.

—Adrianne Kalfopoulou

Posted by dwaber at March 24, 2008 01:39 PM