for Paul de Man
The sign has eloped,
run with the dust
and turned his bill
to African shores.
He’s defaulted on his deed.
It’s gone better than we hoped,
the sign’s sorry journey,
and we the spectators eat our fill of insatience.
No more shall cities turn to rust.
— They turn, it seems, to bores.
We the spectators rely on probability,
what we’re probably saying.
Patience is death. Meaning sows boiled seeds.
The sign returned to our tight-fisted mouths.
He peered through our teeth, as bare as steel bars,
and climbed in through the gaps.
But when he reached our tongues, he found them tied up,
like a swollen Gordian knot. He raised his sword, cut
But his home was never home, and his absence never of note.
Now he wanders in rags. He seeks out Place Vendôme
and coughs up blood on the Champs d’Elysée.