Caryl Pagel


A War-Time Parade


Tell me I’m still here     Am I still here?     YES!

& everyone I know is marching toward

me:    my friends     family     my father's face

right there & exploding with delight for

having recognized me so—alright!     Laugh?

I glimpse this minute your syrupy skull

bobbing along & cracking itself half-

open into a grin     Who can still     tell

if that’s my arm waving HELLO?     You who—

yooo whooo—can you?     A grand storm of debris

fires through the air     They are chucking balloons

& tiny crimson stars down city streets…

This time the master marshal’s lost his head—

he’s down on his knees     bleeding out     dead-ends.




A Vision


I am aware of birds in the gutter as I awake The sounds they make I am aware of the static of my own sounds—a blank new quiet A warning from above—& from below Look: there are dark soldiers at my back—they compose an army This morning I am aware that if I take one step forward they will take one step forward If I take one step back I will join them