Don't Call It Shelter, Call It Pergola

Don't call it shelter, call it pergola,
the invisible framework standing between the surface of the earth
and its last gasps of breath,
growing clouds and choking birds
and clotheslining jetliners
and hanging angels till God frees ’em.
Once it was a solid translucent shield
till God angry-cried so long so hard—
he walked the stumbling surface then,
believe nothing different—
and the floodwaters rose and rose purely as aroused
and raised as their point their fist Noah's cruiseliner
and cracked the roof
and shattered all the filled-in fresh-lost tensile strength.
And though God planned on reconstructing it after his angry waters subsided,
he realized for the first time since the end of his previous eternity
just how goddamn beautiful the stars were—
beautiful and shy, blinking when spied—
so instead he patched the born-from-destruction arbor
where it leaked down to its base,
dug out the rot and filled it in with concrete and sealed it off,
welded on inch-thick steel plates to uncrook the bows
where Noah's great big boat had bombarded the pillars,
and finally scooped out all the leftover glass.
So when you stare out, or up, or down, into the sky at night
and you catch the stars between their blinks
and feel the weight of every step it would take
to walk the lightyears and lightyears between your home and theirs—
the security of obscurity clutching hugging you tight—
don't call it shelter, call it pergola.
The sky doesn't protect you.
Nor does it attack you.
It simply gives
no
fucks.
It's never protected you a day in your life.
You ever seen it stop a meteor?
You seen the shit that falls from the beautiful terror
that gets your guard down and then strangles them dead?
Don't call it shelter, call it pergola.
Anything that ever burst into flames
before bursting into the seams
simply got too shy to kiss the earth you were made from,
and blushed itself into oblivion.
The sky ain't got your back.
The sky ain't got nothing but itself.
Reduced to a cracked-out patched-over crumbling concrete-filled frame,
it has got one more thing past its existence:
the inevitability of its collapse.
Too bad it ain't got a mind to care.
Lost that when Noah's ark dislodged it and God, in his teary stupor,
missed something for the first time in his third eternity.
Don't call it shelter, call it pergola.
And since you've jumped to pergola,
jump a little farther.
Call it purgatory.
It's not a place off earth.
It's not just a place on earth.
It is earth.
Start praying,
and never forget to look.

[ 20150402 ]


Austin's Coffee. Winter Park, FL. Jazz night as my backdrop. Title and repeated line taken from a photo I posted to Instagram and my mother's comment on it on Facebook.

“Don't Call It Shelter, Call It Pergola” is the first full poem I wrote for NaPoWriMo 2KXV, the goal of which is to write thirty poems in thirty days. Follow the fprg tag NaPoWriMo 2KXV to see what I write this month.