Leptis Magna

When I was young,
there was a house I knew,
towering & full of brick,
on an upscale, uptown street,
different from all the rest,
w/a yard surrounding all it’s imposing facades,
like a castle moat
w/ no drawbridge.

It was a house no one came out of,
w/ a garden whose still air,
seemed strangely un-intruded or unexplored
past the familiar trash of sweet-teeth
on the sun-baked lawn…

It appeared like our playground,
only, a metamorphosis of some kind
seemed to have taken place.
Like a scrap-yard of sculpture,
odd bends of purple steel,
twisted yellow irons
symbols painted crudely on plywood boards
mounted onto rocket-shaped towers
seemed aimed at the sun
& occupied a strange place in our young minds.

We called it the “Chinese Pooh-pooh House”
& we didn’t know any better,
& though we only ever saw it
from the cars driven by my friends’ prim & distant Mothers,
conversations about school
& fights over sports cards
would always come to a halt
whenever we neared that intersection.

I often wondered whether
the person responsible
for it’s intense landscape,
was an artist creating some explicit mockery
of something far beyond my years,
or whether or not they had patrons,
perhaps dark midgets
practicing new cults of fiction,
drinking absinthe aged a hundred years,
trying to find the way & the formula…

I never found out
& left
& forgot for some time,
but perhaps he/she shot pictures of us
as we passed,
nervous, in fits of laughter
but secretly transfixed.

Perhaps he/she raided the icebox
a little too often,
watched foreign films on a satellite dish,
or maybe his/her work paid testament to some strange illness…

Somehow they kept their door closed all those years
& mangled the minds & eyes
of all that was around them,
that was enough…

Whatever they did,
they might not have seen the whole joke
until it was too late,
didn’t flick the ash until the whole stick had burned,
ploughed their souls’
screamed for the wine…

Whatever they did,
they did not do it
w/out committing a perfect crime …

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1. Leptis Magna     
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