BLACKTOP AND LILAC FLOWERS

I left reading The Book of Songs, compiled by Confucius,

On the wooden patio, its planters filled with small flowers

Bright purple, dainty white and purple, daisies, deep red

Like the Nature imagery structured through the Odes

Plum flowers, boughs with peaches, reeds picked by pools

On islands in the Yangtze River; measuring the hours of night

By the passing of stars through the sky, which places humans

In the still of Nature reverence, persisting yet from China’s antiquity

Driving away from the wooden patio, that June night when, at 9:30,

The sky was blue and in the west yellow-golden with the sun still up

The street’s blacktop clashed against the violet scent of lilac flowers;

Oaks decorated concrete sidewalks, rising steel and glass office buildings

Parking in a lot past downtown by the train tracks, I faced two billboards

Looked past the tilting chain-link fence to the clashing billboards—

The pinkish, tomato-soup orange Vizzy hard seltzer billboard against

The red CIBC Bank billboard, though some texts may call them

Complimentary colors, the pinkish, tomato-soup against red billboards

Eating my Quarter-Pounder, I couldn’t see the lady pick reeds by pools

Looking at the weeds, the tilting fences, the billboards by the parking lot

Facing the train tracks, nor at the municipal park, either, I drove to

And pulled over to let a screaming ambulance pass me, that had to cross

The centerline into oncoming traffic and a guy wouldn’t stop his car

To let the ambulance through, on my way; the municipal park circled

By a blacktop road, with pavilions and restrooms for picnickers

The stillness from Confucius’ Odes took me to the wooden patio,

The tiny flowers in the planters secluded by means of wooden planks

Composing the privacy fence—despite pink noise from the exhaust fan

Of the nearby brick restaurant—I picked reeds by pools with the lady

On an island surrounded by the rough Yangtze River, it was dark, now