Requiem for old houses

This evening

coming home
brain so tired
I can’t think

I let my feet
take me along
past rows of old houses

dressed for death
in gray and faded
yellow paint.

The houses mourn.
They mourn the street
down which everything passes.

They mourn the rain which runs
off too-heave roofs,
porches loosened like dentures from gums

lights flickering from windows
filmed with cataracts of dirt, dogs
lifting legs against foundations eaten with age,

foundations between two houses
where two houses stood.
These houses mourn. Whole weeks go by,

and still they mourn,shivering,
huddled together against
the night’s chill.

Somewhere inside
each one, people
rummage around,

make love,

I let my feet
take me along
past rows of old houses

and down a street
running with cars, then
back along the street

watching as the sun
settles down behind
rows of old houses

that mourn
the moving shadows.
— 10 May, 1974, Minneapolis


About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at
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