Sunday, November 19, 2006
Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l'etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente.
-Inferno Canto III
The doorbell rang softly.
Amidst the din of the night,
Half asleep in bed,
I decided it was a dream,
And began to pretend to sleep.
It rang again like an afterthought,
With the dying smoke of a cigarette butt,
And clung to me like a supplicant,
In dire need of help.
At my door was a traveling salesman,
Dressed in a winter fog.
An eager smile buttered his bready face,
And he promptly said “Hello,
The sun won’t rise today.”
I looked beyond him with doubt.
Yes, the sky was blacked out.
“Will it rise tomorrow then?”
He shook his head like a tree,
And with a grave voice he said,
“You haven’t paid your dues.”
This was bad news.
He left me with a leaflet,
And drifted away like a bobbling bottle,
In the middle of a wavy night.
The fluttering leaflet wailed,
An infant unattended in distress,
An inscrutable voice in every page,
That cried, I haven’t paid my dues.
The dues, the dues, the dues.
The futile sound of my views, your views.
The emptiness of a creaky swing,
That moves to and fro.
Swings higher, swings low.
The sun won’t rise today,
Nor tomorrow, nor the day after.
An eternity stares after a traveling salesman.