Time becomes a pixilated memory
of bliss and blood
as the clock winds down.
We pause to visit for a brief daze
as the foundation weakens while wonders compress
into petrified shadows a labyrinth of murky intrigue
forgotten in repetition
as the night strides
and blur into all others.

All I want is sleep,
but a thousand nails
have hammered my eyelids open.

I need sleep that keeps
wandering away for a drink
at a 4am bar
looking for action
near a quiet street
where a windowless car
ambles to an all-night drive-in
as a movie presents
a show time of reels
that have been running for decades,
the cries and laughter-
until a reel is replaced
with familiar scenes
I try to ignore
easing into
a carnival evening-
the only game in town.

Vertical steel lace
curving over streets
and alleys,
a horizontal
Eiffel Tower
on elevated veins
of late 19th century,
cross braced
above shadows and
angular bits of sunlight.

intersect and thread
slow motion rails
around wooden platforms
as metal tokens
and windblown transfers
of phantom riders
whom settle into their stops.

Dappled city of light,
points backward
rattles forward
along rust washed
Lake Street
ghost factories.

Staccato rhythm
every five minutes-
El tower miles long
props itself up
from moist prairie asphalt.

I took time off from work.

The grave was dug by strangers
who buried a loved one below life’s cold memory,
all have grown away
a wheezing fate
of a thousand early morning deaths
time meanders in capricious confusion
huddled by the erratic guillotine
which has the final laugh into the vaporous night,
as fragrant jasmine alert the gathering
to the great and glorious clouds of desire.

riverun past James
believe me it does
boats beyond timepiece curtains
there is no wake on the river.
turrified run
until the endless dry headstones
dam the cloudyphiz river.

an enigmatic trap door
to a timeless dreamdeath
riverun at times
without an intricate Druidia
twist into fragments
of enlightened himhim
saintly laughter and punman
a shuttered riddle
for the final

JOHN RAFFETTO: Some of his poetry has been published in print and various online magazine such as Gloom Cupboard, Wilderness House, BlazeVox, Literary Orphans, Arial Chart, Olentangy Review & Exact Change. Nominated for Pushcart Prize 2017. His book Human Botany was recently released in 2020.  Holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Northeastern Illinois University. Worked as a horticulturalist and landscape designer for many years at the Chicago Park District which was a rich environment for drawing inspiration for poems concerning nature, people and the city. Formally an adjunct professor.