It Rains in a Dying World

John Michael Colón

                    “To those who are near to death, this is as it should be. 
                     To those who are still young, I feel nothing but sorrow.”

Because I loved you and love you no more
the world is a milder place to live
the sky dull pleasant gray
light rain never gathers into a storm
carries the cold smell of garbage 
to bored nostrils
taps a metronome 
for tired ears
day to day to day
I am tired, I will confess
I do not dance anymore 
I attend the panels of elderly Marxist professors
to shout denunciations at emptying rooms 
the past, hard to believe, once existed 
I try to recall, in quieter hours in smaller rooms
what it was to know I loved you 
to have read the pirated PDFs
of architect-poets and nature-philosophers
murdered revolutionary women
comrades we would never meet
countries we would never visit
who spat in the face of bankers and riot police
burned by dictators’ bombs
to have discovered all the things
we knew about this world
not yet that it was dying
to have loved you, in loving you to have loved
a certain idea of living
a certain way a sound can catch the light
a word’s syncopated music
lost in the rustle of the small cafes 
housed in the bookstores which are my hope
a temple—a monument
there are no temples anymore
in the shadow of our days
patriarchs creep between the marble columns 
relevant forces move into position
certain accounts are filled, others are emptied
deluded men wander the subways in rags
murmuring private pleas for forgiveness
everyone knows, there are no secrets anymore
what this world has been and is becoming
they have gone, the beautiful children 
who were my amulet 
they are scattered imprisoned buried
have become something more than dead
the world too is dying
you are a name on my screen
between the pictures of the vanished children
the trophies of their butchers and betrayals
you are far away from me
in another swallowed city
I cannot say you are more than a memory
I too will be swallowed
the world too is dying
the rain is not a storm but a membrane
I pass through, I too am enveloped 
one cannot see the bodegas through the cloud
the storm is always far away
I watch it through the screens
all my life I have watched through windows
you came by and then you walked away
I knew then the truth about the world
from my window through my screen
in the minimalist rain
in the endless obscenity
as I returned from the academic panel
beside the man dying of his infection
thinking of the memory of having loved you 
only now I can admit it’s finished
alas—the world too is dying
we shall watch as one by one
the things we loved are taken away from us
and we too shall be taken
we must be prepared to lose everything
you and I
we must prepare to be scraped empty
to find one day there’s nothing at the bottom
I wasn’t made for a world like this 
or any world at all
people like us are only at home
in the sleep between the waking and the dream