The Purple City


Ally C.

Tyler Jungbauer

I used to know of a purple city

That sat upon the carven brow of a shatter’d hill,

Where the stars burned a special blue,

Like the furnace heat of a lover’s consummate heart.

Here the wind wound strings of lucid breath

Around towering, monolithic pyres, great stone faces drawn with fire

Into the black heart of the scarr’d hill.

(A scar drawn into the brow of a warrior, like tears in the dark.)

Men used to walk, to and fro, from that city,

Wearing woolen robes,

Their backs bowed ’neath the weight of unseen loads,

Their eyes quivering for madness in their sockets,

Blue electric sparks jumping from their forest’d cheeks

Like silver rain scattered across a window pane.

Twisting, sputtering, sticky, unraveling like string,

Their bodies little more than mortal shells of time

Encasing the eternal breadth of their immortal minds.


With the swift turning of cogs, these men pushed the world

O’er the edge of opportunity,

(A scar drawn into the brow of a warrior, like tears in the dark,)

And as Atlas shrugged with a quaking sigh, the world fell,

Thundering, waves breaking frothy their heads against cubes of stone,

And upon the breast of the universe where the river of life ran, past Eve and Adam,

The world broke. The world broke.

The world broke.

And the cogs, the cogs fell askew.

Flakes of rust fell like snow o’er the purple city,

Covering the purple towers in smelted coal, ash like tar-dust,

World fallen apart, string unwound, man without sense of cents, time undone.

And, alone, broken, atop the shatter’d brow of the flame-scarr’d hill,

(Where God never lived to die and the Devil never died to live,

Like tears, tears in the dark,)

There burns a deadened flame, color’d a faint, faint gray.

From this flame falls the ash of the forgotten breaths of known men.

And as time’s twine untwists endlessly outward,


As the grand spectre of a universe once living winks overhead,

As the flame in the open window loses its yellow-orange head for good,

As the last of the great men in their woolen, brown robes lose their sense

And tumble off cliffs, hollow stones caught mindlessly in the vise of blind progress,

As the earth sheds sob after wooden, splintered sob, a mother’s heart wounded, broken,


As her heart beats, beats, beats without hope of reparation, tissues severed, bleeding,

(As the scar is drawn into the brow of the warrior, as the tears are shed, tears in the dark,)

The dying flame of the purple city

Reflects in the silver eye of the moon.

But the moon, like the stars, does not see.

(The downcast face of a child losing itself in the silver, silver rain fills my eyes,

And the city falls away with the fluttering of a butterfly’s effervescent wings,

Leaving only the falling sleet of a world unliving, like tears in the dark,

Like fears of the clock, like scars on an unwrinkled brow.)

The purple city falls, falls, falls! without sound, without motion, without reaction,

Like the gnarled knot of memories, true and false, severed in two and shriveled,

Flower-like, upon the tabletop under the neon clock with the brazen face.


Where the purple city once glittered

With the dust of stars on its hefty shoulders,

Shoulders on which men with torment’d grins ruminated

Upon unwalking feet and with unseeing eyes,

Now only the wind draws breath and sighs, like tears in the dark.

(Now only the wind draws breath and sighs, like tears in the dark.

And the child, standing in the rain under the moon, only cries.)