In the blue-dark reaches of the hall a salvaged temple
glowers. Its perfection was at once implacable, unique.
I tilt the camera to upset its verticality. Cracks
upon the battered marble betray as many failures
as the years. It’s Euclidian authority persists, though gods
are gone. Between its columns [ionic, fluted,
fractured] – cemented following some Samsonite
assault – three females, headless, bustle. On every
blank and stone a busy frieze preserves a land
of riders spurred to war, or hustling shoulders
under flowing robes. Such noble haunches,
muscled thighs. Horses galloping a Muybridge
rotoscope. The pageant pediment meets
eyeless night – a held up universe upheld.
A disconnect occurs. Atomic structures move apart.
The living die, drift, disinter themselves.
Spaces empty; causes, contexts seek
their makers and are gone. Warmed and holy
streets give up their savage gods, become
a grid for sneakers, flip-flops, country casuals
and cool co-ordinates. Guide books flourish,
bring light through panes that face the sun.
The past unfolds – and, newly peopled, moves
in through blankened days and distances. Disturbs.
I raise my phone again and hide behind its camera
screen. A man in jeans and blue t shirt, cartoon
Minions printed across his belly’s comfortable
expanse holds centre of the frame. He looks
aside, holds knees apart. He’s bored
but in control. His back is turned, unseeing.
Bring down your gods, your headless dancers;
repopulate the scene with dreamers who can walk
the shadows of a thousand thousand days.
The Nereid Monument