Saint Joseph By Night
The Belt Highway: 12 A.M.
10th and Powell: 1 A.M.
The Rock Quarry, 5 Miles North: 2 A.M.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter: 3 A.M.
7th and Felix: 4 A.M.
Saint Joseph by Day

The Belt Highway: 12 A.M.

The night air is thick and toxic>
Exhaust from countless vehicle
spreads throughout this
stretch of concrete that extends
from one end of this city to the other
Saint Joseph has all but closed its doors
yet this road refuses to sleep
Adolescent girls jam their parents' cars
flocking lemming-like to the edges of the city
following all the high school boys
in their trucks and sports cars
hours on end of every night
to meet in the parking lots
of stores long since emptied
and raid the Taco Bell and Hardee's
drive-thrus that stay open
almost exclusively for them
The Vampires are here
riding with them and
pretending to be them
Secuding their wanderng hearts
Calling them back to this road
night after night
with the hint of something
beyond the mundane life
they know awaits them

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10th and Powell: 1 A.M.

I have often wandered by the ominous place
and I have never dreamt that it would appear
so large from inside its courtyard
Though the windows have black eyes
and the night sky is almost afraid to peer over those juggernaut walls
we fear nothing as we descend
into the decaying depths
The solid stairways become fractured chaos
as we slide from room to room
walking on pieces of the ceiling
Tentacles from above reach down to ensare us
n the dark, as we dare not use our lights
near the windows
And we descend deeper
crawling up the laundry shoots
stealthing the underground passages
between the building
in hopes of finding the elusive caverns
beneath the Old Sisters Hospital
where The Vampires hold their gatherings
foolish mortals that we are
Until the tile walls flash blue and red
and we realize we are discovered and trapped inside
as the very Vampires we seek must have been
when the wrecking ball came just days before
And we vanish into the depths of the underground
avoiding all eyes to the surface
until hours later it is safe to emerge
back into the courtyard
quietly leaving the crumbling structure
for the last time
sad with the knowledge that
whatever secrets this place held
will be forever lost to us
when the wrecking ball returns tomorrow

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The Rock Quarry, 5 Miles North: 2 A.M.

I have never seen such lights
Away from the noisy neon
and loud luminescence
I lay upon a mountain of stone
vision drifting until I find electricity
where there should be none
Beginning at the furthest trees
multiplying tenfold as it travels
towards me
eveloping me as I perceive it
passing me by simply to return to me
Circuitry as it were
Repeating as each little firefly
encores their performance in this grand opera
along side their infinite bretheren
in a concert so flawless
The few Vampires who happen upon it
must surely lose themselves
Returning to seclusion only when
the sun jealously drowns out this performance
when it awakens

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The Wal-Mart Supercenter: 3 A.M

I shudder to think
how much electricity
fuels this place
24 hours a day
7 days a week
A shopping center the size of a subdivision
Anything you could want
Retail outlet and grocery store
Automotive center and repair
Deli and bakery
Optometrist and audiologist
Even the familiar glow
of a large gold "M"
at least twice my height
in case you get the urge for a burger and fries
Mere hours ago
it would be impossible
to manuever a cart through these aisles
the population of Wal-Mart shoppers
seeking $.05 less on a can of tuna
rivaling that of the surrounding towns
Now only the pasty-faced goths
and the Vampires they imitate
wander the aisles with the moonlight's blessing
Buying life's little necessities
at bargain prices
during the hours when
only the dead and the graveyard shifts walk
The fact that this place exists
and the hours it keeps
says something about us both
I don't know what it is
but it is in the air here
Between the Levi jeans and the Frosted Flakes
between the scented fuzzy dice
and the Power Rangers watches
Somewhere between Time Magazine
The Weekly World News
and Barney the Dinosaur

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7th and Felix: 4 A.M.

They say that there are gangs
but I've never seen a soul down there
Just brick walls and rusted fire escapes
and a void so complete
I have lain in the middle
of a four-way intersection
and no car ever approached
My friends and I scale the rooftops
and dance on traffic signs
searching the grassy areas where
The Vampires must spend their afternoons
At times it is so quiet
The electric hum of the streetlights
gives us headaches
and save for our footfalls
our poetry
and the roar of the Missouri River
pushing 30 million gallons of water
past us every second
Saint Joseph could be a ghost town

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Saint Joseph By Day

There is silence everywhere
for all of a second
as doors swing open
upon streets throught
this maze of concrete, glass, and steel
Heavy footfalls precede
the slamming of doors
and the eruption of engines
Which are not louder than the thoughts
of those who give them life
as the earliest of the workforce
staggers out into the bluing sky
And The Vampires rush home
amidst the traffic spawling
fluid-like through the veins of streets
as people find their way to work
And for the following hours
Saint Joseph looks alive
with horns and radios
creating an illusion of life
This city has an angst all its own
in masking the parasite
it claims not to be

Composed December 1993 to December 1998

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