from Postcards from the White City
Two Excerpts from “Postcards from the White City”
World’s Fair, St. Louis, Missouri; 1904
Bridge of Spain, moss-spackled corridor
of war; decayed wisteria. Among divided
flowers, a riot of bees. Axis of invisible
lines. In some museums your lover can stand
beneath a cupola—whispers unnerve,
lick at the ear like a mouth, meaning
to arouse capitulation. Wings
disappear behind the walled city, tearing
the luminous air. Who remembers forty-seven
acres, villages radiating from a central plaza?
I am drawn to the edges, to undisciplined
life in swamps, in markets not yet fallen
to the catalogue— Where might I find such
fruit as that passing tourist savors with her lips?
Musuem of Science and Industry; Spring 2003
Underneath plaster moldings, old barns,
stables; plain masonry, blocks of factory space.
Rafters where finches once scattered in a panic
of light. Marvelous façades applied in layers—
so the white glare of buildings rendered smoke
glasses an absolute necessity.
The muses of science and industry
press marbled foreheads against the pitched
roof. Scrolls flutter down the length of pillars
by the entryway; crowds thicken
on the esplanades, lining up for tickets.
In the galleries, a low monsoon hum—
camera shutters whirring open and close.
In rooms where lamps are shaded with mica
bodies hang from walls, robed in dusky brown.
“Postcards from the White City” is from Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, University of Notre Dame Press).