Think of it - in the heart of town
in the well of the piazza's madeleine
in the inner chambers of Siena's
nerve center : a fresco-sun.

Shines through the Black Death night
(vale, Brunetto). He was a bookish
city journalist, his panoramas flush
with tags, encomiae, Italo-Latinate

cartoon balloons... memos for precepts
to be kept in mind, aides-memoire
for puffy counselors (collected there
within the glow). Dream-ships -

papyrus-barges of the word (parchment
and ink the lifeblood of the civitas);
packets of ben commun, epitomized
in pithy brush-light (air apparent).


Shines through the Black Death night
an image of measurement (wisdom's reproof).
The mind (unclear, uncertain... pregnant, aloof).
And it is not enough. The anchorite

in solitude, the nurse in the Baghdad ward
reach understanding in extremity
deeper than any rational city
can celebrate (cerebrally). Hard

is the path, and narrow is the way

- or Ramirez, the immigrant
in the mental hospital (with his crayon).
In the Beginning was the Word, Jose.

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