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Concrete Kiss


The city is a glass knife
a blunt blade against the edge of the sky
carving heaven into pieces sold by the foot
length and width: new measures of respect
Relationships now defined by distance
propriety pared into necessity
handshakes hugs and the artificial kiss

Skylines divided by highway and skyrise
distance diminished by subways and trains
riding smoothly skyward in elevators
silent, but heavy with bodies and breath
sliding skin to skin into a crowded car
slick with the smell of metal and tensed flesh

Unless of course we are lucky
stuck with strangers on the concrete plain
cool as cathedrals in our idling automobiles
waiting impatiently
to eat up one more asphalt inch


The city is a broken body
leaking steel from wounds stitched in its skin
Cars clot concrete arteries, flowing slowly home
to pool in cul-de-sacs and cool in the two car garage
Trains trace trails of voltage and smoke
through the gates of suburban sanctuary
bleeding bodies onto busses and bicycles
while the rest walk slowly home


The city is a concrete rag
soaking up bodies and dreams
society’s shards sunk into its skin
fallen from a sky once reserved for heroes and gods

Doors lock against the demon drink
in possession of bodies only momentarily
only until the chemicals dissolve and reality returns
a sober cold that cannot be kept out by coats

Alleys, tunnels, and gutters fill up with phantoms
the forgotten and misloved, the disillusioned and dreaming
rummaging the recycled city, fending off knives and nightmares
backs turned to a hungry wind lost
weathering one more night in a season of survival
Artificial Kiss v.2. I like this piece a lot better. I feel like this version is much more final. The second stanza softens things a bit, but to me makes more sense of the entire scenario. I like the new stanzas in sections I and III and feel like they let the poem breathe a bit more. Less heavy monotony. I cleaned up some of the difficult phrases, cut some of the superfluous ones, and, of course, changed the title.
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amyfae Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2004   Writer
I do like this version better than the other. My comment is about the word " city" in the very last stanza...simply because you only use the word in the first line of each section otherwise; it feels like it shouldn't be elsewhere in the poem. But that's just me.
festivemanb Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2004
This poem is quite accomplished. I really like the rhythm of the peice and the repetitive alliteration, it unites the peice, gives it an overwhelming power. I have a coupla comments:
1) I reckon that in line 2 blunt should be jagged. When you look a the skyline it is jagged, uncertain. I don't think it looks blunt. Anyway.
2) In section 3, line 3, I am a bit bothered with 'society'. I don't really see how this phrase works. But that's just me.
3) Don't you think that the sheer universality of people comparing roads to the beating veins of an ubranpomorphic(?) city is something rather cool? I mean, this image of the beating veins of Chicago or New York is something so beautiful that it just sears itself on the minds of writers. A wish, perhaps, to turn what is uncertain, comlicated, dirty and beautiful, into something human and understandable.
epimetheus Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2004  Professional Interface Designer
You're right about jagged, and it will be changed. I don't mind the word 'society.' Yes, I do enjoy the image of a city as a body, but then, that's why I wrote the poem. But we know that the city isn't only a body, which is why I wrote the poem.

terov Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2004
Outstanding. Great pacing throughout, which I didn't expect with the teeth-clank intensity of the opening, but evolved beautifully throughout the piece.

My only gripe is the word "society's" which has--to my mind--fallen from poetic favor lately. But consulting a few thesauri, I certainly can't come up with anything better.
haunt Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2004   Artisan Crafter
yeah, you've hit it with this. i can't see any parts that require additional attention.
tmpst24myst Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2004  Student Writer
this is excellence.
justaphase Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2004   Writer
very good retreival of the raw version. i agree with your self - analysis. the one line that i question is the lack of the word "square" before foot in "carving heaven into pieces sold by the foot" unless you intended to conjour an image of a foot in the human body part sense. i like it, and its relationship to the Ghosts party. ramrod straight and dry as nitrogen, it.
gyroscope Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2004
it's a much more poetic take, and i like it equally. the first was the body, this is the soul, and both are written icily.

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January 10, 2004
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