Lisbon is sinking

 

Lisbon is sinking into the muddy riverbed of Tagus
with the weight of cobblestones,
one for every soul and church
adorning its avenues under guard of stone Kings

Bloodied tears
drip from iron hilltop castle cannons through
mazes of terracotta roofs and chalk-white
walls toward the cup of central Baixa drowning
gipsy panhandlers and romance busker songs
masking the hungry cries of colonial hunger
fattened up with Bibles that could not be eaten
by black Africa, no matter how hungry the children
hiding in the reeds were

Lisbon is sinking,
the weight of Liberty Avenue embanked on its
left and right elbows by stone monoliths strong enough
to protect men back from one thousand conquistador hells,
to shade the eyes of trotting red and green flag horse
parades, for ghosts returning home from war with
madness in their eyes, fists full of Angolan dirt to bury
the Republic and feed the gold lined mouths of bishops

Alfama still cries,
still sings its blues from basement tavern dimmed stages,
its throat still wails black clad widow limericks to
twelve string guitar tears in tune to screams of fishermen
wrapped in blanket nets warming them at the bottom
of the Atlantic, still mourns its children dangling from
the precipice of the world by one hand, the other holding
a whip for every colony told to stay hungry thin to pass
through the needle eye of heaven

Lisbon is sinking,
under the weight of every soul and castle
every black and white cobblestone adorning its
wide avenues to celebrate the kingdom
the kingdom
the kingdom
drowning in tears
drowning beneath black mud

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