This Is a Psalm of Pavement

Jeff Burt

Photo Credit: feck_aRt_post/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Photo Credit: feck_aRt_post/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

This is a psalm of pavement, of switchtrack-abandoned
graffiti and graphic arts, coffins, chain-smoking,
knives of a meth-man’s ribs, needle stuck in the arm
of open soil between two slabs of cement,
a scrap of a love letter from daughter to mother,

a scrap between a homeless couple on who gets the bike
found in the weeds by the willows.
This is a psalm of pavement, the slow shush of shoes
as they head for sunlight in morning,
the tick of parking meters as they heat,

cinnamon-scented carnations
set out in white painter pails
and sweet williams cowering beneath
like violence-violated sons,
the bistro tables covered with lattes,

blackbirds pecking for crumbs,
young women with wet hair rushing to make work on time,
an old Mexican fisherman struggling with his poles
tipping in the basket on his bike
as he crosses the meridian,

time stopped between shadow and light.
For the day that starts out wrong
for the many who look at rectangles below their feet
when their life circles in emptiness,
that their sight might be lifted

to the bright white tips of gulls circling over waters,
the soft yellow sandstone on the cliff,
I am the man with his baby strapped to his chest
who walked the long night cooing, through cries,
a psalm about this wonderful world.

pencilJeff Burt grew up in Wisconsin, and found a home in California, though the landscapes of the Midwest still populate much of his writing. He has work in or forthcoming in Clerestory, Agave, The Nervous Breakdown, Eclectica, Amarillo Bay, and Storm Cellar, won the 2011 SuRaa short fiction award, and been nominated for a Best of the Net Award. Email: jeff-burt[at]