The Bedside Book of Skyline

Glen Armstrong

We might generate enough skyline
           to become the skyline

           or leave each shape
           along the horizon
           to make silent pictures

           about Augustine
           as an angry young saint.

We might imagine a brand
           new Tin Pan Alley,
           ten-thousand little rooms
           with pianos

           and musicians matching songs
           to the herky-jerky
           movements of Augustine

           whose makeup-darkened eyes
           liberate the rest of his face.

We might rethink currency
           and other aspects
           of customer service.

We might invite likeminded parties
           to the picture’s big premiere:

           Kite enthusiasts.
           Helicopter pilots.

Architects are an irreligious lot,
           unaware of the few musical

           ticks that separate them
           from heretics.

It’s necessary to break a thing
           down now and again:

           The minimum depth of a hole.
           The emotional "pull,"
           as the architects say,

           of any given building
           constructed to tower
           above any other
           and, thus, get our attention.

Saint Augustine runs his company
           "with an iron fist,"
           but doesn’t care for the idiom.

           Any letter card
           inserted into the film
           mentioning   [  St. Augustine’s
                                                        iron fist . . .  ]

           will be followed by Augustine
           lunging at the camera
           like a spider monkey.

                                                        [  Meanwhile . . .  ]

He drinks bourbon behind steel and glass
           with characters Ayn Rand
           would see as saviors
           of rational thought.

There will be hell to pay
           upon the big guy’s conversion.

We might return to a golden age
           of just about anything,

           but our current ways
           of thinking still flicker
           like missing frames.

We might become so sober
           that we experience
           a kind of "whiteout."

Loud birds are scary, but I beg
           you, brothers and sisters,

           leave your parents
           to their Pepsi

           and meet me downtown.

We may yet dance the night away
           to the desperate improvisations

           of a saint in a porkpie hat
           hammering those ivories
           a hundred stories above us.

The Bedside Book of Skyline