Negro as Lighthouse

— Nicholas Goodly

Kyoto Tower
is permanent and steel
tallest in the city
my breath is stubborn
I am thinking
of an image for failure
a garden of rocks
it doesn’t take much to live
I am black
I don’t stand
against fog and night
how long have we
been here before
been brave
and worried
how gulls slice the air
in two even pieces
Kyoto Tower
a Japanese candle
and drunken artists walk
like waking children
wiping their eyes
clear as fish bowls
this one is drawing
the same image
over and over
of the gardener’s hands
until it is perfect
I collect his discarded paper
and pile the flimsy things
into a tall stack
feeble as the artist himself

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