poem index

in the ruins

Mark Conway
we drank in the remains
of ruined buildings 
and we sat in a cave or
wrecked houses on farms given back to the bank 
listening to men who'd been raised
in ways that were lost
and we strained to make out
the use of their news
they were crazy or passed out 
speed notched with a cross
they drank from the flask and the mouth
they came in and shook off the rain
inflamed and dismayed 
calm and arcane 
the least one seethed chanting whitman for hours 
then wept at the dregs of the fire 
foam formed at the edge of their lips
we drank and waited for something to drop  
you and I looking and sifting
for signs written in wax 
we were young we knew how to die
but not how to last 
a small man who claimed he was blake raged 
all night and probably he was
he had god in his sights  
white crosses shone in our eyes or acid mandalic 
in the ruins the men talked: 
seraphic and broken 
glowing with gnosis and rubbish 
we sorted their mad sacred words 
these dog-headed guides to the life after 
and the life after that

Copyright © 2011 by Mark Conway. Used with permission of the author.

Mark Conway