After Wallace Stevens’ Ideas of Order at Key West

Six o’clock ––
The station of anonymous faces.
Dull heels echo fatigue. Dusk triggers
gravy and oil diffused in the alleyway
The lady’s smile is faint ––
unlike the pan that sizzles with life ––
unlike the beers clattering faintly
She is one of many insignificants.

The city is her excuse
for constant, purposeless shuffling
but the city is merely a party host
where beauty and vultures entwine,
the party an empty gift
adorned with false promise.
It was the banners of hope –– and not her ––
in which the answers lay.

For she was just a wanderer; the world
no different than her moods
When beams of daylight turned air crimson
the city awoke as did she.
Soon, a dinsome street became her backdrop,
its vivacity evidence of true promise.
She need not find her footsteps,
only follow the city’s rhythm
until she forgot the dream
that once defined her.

My friend, tell me, if the woman acts true
why, when the train galloped away from the beacon ––
we knew not of farewell to it, tell me why,
when the bar’s piano ages and the woman sings sorrow,
it is the city –– and not her tunes ––
by which we remember our youth.

For it was more
than the bustling streets
or a vision of luxury
leading our bodies, our minds, our souls.
For it was true –– the city’s covenant
to become new, to forget pain,
our new persons reflected in every mirror ––
We became new, and forever.
For we were lost,
and yet we stayed.
By the skyline, we were reminded of hope.
For we, like the once-young lady,
still waited to find what’s true
beyond the glitter of the counterfeit city.

RenQi is currently studying in Vancouver, Canada. He hopes his writing can inspire more thoughts and discussions. Besides writing, RenQi loves to play basketball, read about philosophy, and spend time with his friends and family.