HYMN TO ATHENA
In the public park on 30th Avenue stands grey-
eyed Athena in effigy,
age brings sorrows numberless as stars
& so going, a man pays them no heed, like stars,
but to navigate.
A beggar among the joints that proffer
sullen pizza--Odysseus--you & I
both strangers among Greeks for a time,
tribulations rung around that pearl,
Ithaka, such a city as there never was;
these thoughts, a scar a man gives
himself to be known by.
Grey-eyed Athena, will you descend your pillar
& walk with me awhile?:
I've poured no wine to bodiless gods,
their wildeyed prophets &
their martyring abstractions.
I also am a man of twists & turns, master
of the winged word & the subtleties
of theft. We lose the art of speech.
We lose the anchor of the song.
& my men gone & my hollow black ship
dashed to bits. We walk as the dead
do, nameless, among men
who know no proper customs: such are we
who sing your songs, derived, to repicas.
Such is this life on the other side of the mirror:
signless, no body to cast an image, a thousand
reflections as made by a shattered glass.
Your face stares from the coffeecups, the lights
of the city hide the numberless stars,
as they do sorrows. On the screen writhes
our queen Kalypso & no grey-eyed
goddess, no son or country
to call us home.