“Falling Cities” by Emmanuel Agrapidis


Victims of Medusa grow beards of moss
In the jungle tangle, covered in lime
Every tree and bough, the rocks and the water
Know there is no shame in falling victim
To her clever trap. This is the season
Of mists and mushrooms, of howling chicks
Waiting for fresh frogs and fish delivered
High up to their impregnable hollow.
Soon it will be time for the fledglings to earn
Their wings under Medusa's watchful eyes—
When she cries lava will flow to the seas—
She grieves on universal bones of stone;
In her mouth plates collide, buckle upwards
Into folds, blocks of rock shatter, fossil
Molds and holes are filled with her minerals,
Her teeth carving V-shaped scars and valleys;
Pilgrims come visit her to pay respects
Wading through shoals of hungry piranha,
Crossing rope bridges and tricky terrain
Where implacable realities hold
Sway, they crawl in the crowded, pellucid
Pool at the lip of the great Water falling,
Their fragility unfurled into strength
Because she inspires them to believe;
They are like hornets returning fully
Laden with their harvest, are exposed and
Weathered and harden to form beautiful
Stone carvings, fluted columns spun into
Threads, one hand extended to the heavens,
The other to the earth in that ancient
Juxtaposition of people and dreams
And nature blending the two, monsters that
Grow solely out of people by way of
Dreams like the romantic belief in a
Child's innocence now petrified, even
More absurd than the innocence of a
Landscape as opposed to man-made beauty,
Like a stream is purer than the statue
Of liberty, or a breeze more pristine
Than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel;
There isn't or ever was natural
Humanity, it doesn't occur wild,
No pattern in their genes instructs people
On how to build their houses, Medusa
Whispers to them the blueprints to cities,
So ignorant of their human nature
That cities fall in disrepair yet the
Fantasy insists that every plant is
A delicate plant gravely misjudging
The toughness of plants, it is human life
Which is frail and civilization which
Flickers in constant danger of being
Blown out, no sooner does a building lapse
In disuse than a weed forces its way
Through cracks in basement floors and openings
Around pipes, in the pores in blocks of stone,
splitting them apart.