Thursday, November 2, 2023

The Local Scene

If you depict your local scene
In just the right combination
Of what people can remember

Or reconstruct from memory
Who’ve never seen your local scene,
Mixed with incomprehensible

Strangenesses for the minds of same,
You may get credit for being
Both local and universal,

Both of your time and for all time.
Do you feel a little shiver
Of the fine hairs back of your neck

At the thought of earning such praise?
Don’t believe it, if it happens,
And better yet, don’t seek it out.

No one can be wholly local
And communicate beyond that—
No one can be universal

At all. You know what you can do?
You can depict without striving
For vivid locality or

Universality, or truth,
Ugly word, cudgel for liars
Who lust to pound each other flat.

The atmosphere disturbs your peace.
Waves with various sources race
Across the wreckage that you face.

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