All Cities Are Planned Cities

by Bryan Edenfield

All Cities Are Planned Cities

Look closely, Lily…
you’ll find a gentle chord extending
from my wrist to the planet Saturn and
a twisted vein, sparkling, that reaches
from the farthest nebula
to the broken thump of my heart and
from a distance
the criss-cross appears purposeful, but this is only


and you are only
an accident.

As a child you and I opened each other’s doors
through an elaborate rope and pulley system
that connected every handle and latch,
every lock and key,
every window and shutter,
(we were trapped without each other,
just like everybody else)

and the doctor, kind and vile,
with his marble eyes and clocks of glass,
peered down from forestfire clouds
to measure the angles, the tangled lines,
to map the relationships however frayed however
stuck however tight however slackened.

We did this over acres and eons with
our eyes plucked out and our fingers wrapped in gauze
but the stethoscopic master of finance and surgery
believes, because of evidence both experiential and
a priori, that these patterns are genetic, bludgeoned
into our bones by heredity and the violent habits
of ancestors. Au contraire,

evolution is a series of mistakes.
If it looks beautiful from above,
that’s only because it’s so familiar, the child
of our orgy, an intimate depiction of our blood
kin and marriages.

Any objective observer would find that cacography
belched by idiot civilization foolish, a joke,
random and unimportant.

So much for the scientist.
He’s in love like the rest of us: a failure,
a phony, a fake. But we listen nonetheless because
he tells us what we want to hear:

If you nod, sis, my spine will rip from my back.
If you smile, my lungs will drop.
If you pop your knuckles I’ll see the sun fall
from the sky.
And if you laugh, all of the traffic lights turn red.
When you frown, birds die.

So, I’d like to introduce you to my emperor,
the urban planner, a man (I think…, his biology
is that of the stack interchange, the on-ramp,
the round-about, the genitals not skyscrapers but
sprawl.) in love with circles, he trembles at
right angles and cuts citizens from cloth.
He speaks the language of zoning legislation
and cries parking tickets with byzantine fines.
He gives no sidewalks and coughs symmetry;
his tunnels are permanent and his fountains are
only always in the precise center.

Everything is in its proper position here.
A disease of control (diagnosed
by schizophrenics, doomsday prophets,
tricksters, swarms and liars) , the symptoms
are: civilization, history, progress, form and

Bless me. I love this sickness.