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The Truth About the Present

John Lane
after Bei Dao
when rivers are intoxicated
with dioxide you gather lotus shoots
to pick their pockets is
the clock of the age

when the last songbird
shivers with undue cold like wires overhead
to handle harsh metals is
the clock of the age

when your keyboard dissolves
in the pit of nations
to write in echoes is
the clock of the age

when you forge transparencies
in the foundries upstream
the bridges are blocked by karaoke
their digital sand is
the clock of the age

the cell phone's face is always
time-dependent on fingers somewhere
today opens to the nearby delta 
and tomorrow 
is the clock of the age

Copyright © 2011 by John Lane. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 by John Lane. Used with permission of the author.

John Lane