When the music begins, all the buildings start to run.
Leaves are blown down the streets,
you shiver, there’s panic in November.
But it’s not because of the cold you’re shivering:
you shiver with love.
All the buildings are leaving you.
The cars, the trees, the people,
they’re all leaving you.
They begin to run when the music starts,
you watch them running,
then suddenly you begin running, too.

The train stops in the station
and begins to sprout branches.
Twigs emerge from the branches, and the buds of leaves
unfold like green wings from a chrysalis.
A baby stops crying, relaxes back on the bed,
exhales smoke,
stares up at the ceiling
with a gaze numbed by motels and nicotine:
how did my limbs get so old? so clumsy? so big?
how did I learn to stop growing?
What’s this heavy emptiness in my mind?
Is this the past?
Are these the years?

We thought the sarcophagus would hold,
but now the concrete has started to crack.
A kind of silence obtained for decades,
a silence which was also coldness,
possessing clear glacial mass,
and the silence had grown immense and obdurate,
resting unseen at the bottom of a well
or inside the metal of a padlock,
inside our lovers’ eyes,
until the silence became an axiom,
we were used to having it around.
But now there are sounds,
and the sounds fill things with a beautiful ache.
We assumed that death would soon begin,
we hung about, waiting for it
as if it had nothing to do with us,
but nothing happened, and in the end
we grew used to being alive.
Now, abruptly, rudely, unwanted, death really does begin.
It’s bad timing, I say
as I begin running.

All the birds as if with earthquake premonition
fly upwards,
fluttering on wings of violins.
Cars are blown down the street along with the falling leaves,
and the cars are rusting.
Kozo the dog whips out a pistol,
but Lolo the cat produces a bazooka
from behind her back
while the mouse reaches for a ballpoint hammer.
There are tweeting bluebirds of concussion
circling the dazed head of the victim,
TNT booms in jagged orange and sulphur,
smoke rolls in sumptuous, plump ripples of black.
Then the animals suddenly put down all their weapons
and flow out of the light
and into a pencil
like liquid sucked up into a straw:
the city rises to our lips in summer,
in darkness the skyscrapers are starstruck,
the cars fireflies.
Time — we need more
time, you say.

She strokes the hair out of my eyes,
stirs static on her fingers, it crackles,
and the children wander off into the wood.
We kiss, the trees begin moving, bending groundwards,
peering at the children, neither threatening nor consoling, but just
curious. The world is awake:
centipedes unwind in the trickle of clocks,
there are roots and earth in my mouth,
and the roots are growing,
moving through the soil, foraging
for nutrients as the young leaves above
skirmish for light. The rivers rise and the land slides,
in the flooded museum survivors cling to exhibits
floating on the muddy cocoa torrent
and the precious books, atlases and bibles, sink or bob,
seagulls shriek over the drowned streets,
and people eddy and drift, hanging on tight
to gorgeous coffins nosing out from under the exploding green
of young, summer trees.

You kiss and kiss again
until there is no stillness in you,
and the dead boy strikes a match
a firebug in spring
the cherry trees are lit but still you don’t stop kissing
and the dead boy is no longer me
but is running, running along with everyone else
and with everything else,
bison, newspaper man, front page, bombshell,
the whole panicked herd of things running
along streets which have also started to run
to the dots and bleeps of a subtle electro
humming on a suburban train at dusk
when the starlings swarm and make elastic shapes
like clouds of a cartoon night.
I don’t want to be left behind,
I run with you, run without you, run towards you
because the music has started
it’s what we’re all doing,
I don’t know why,
only we run when the music plays,

why do we run?
and if we stop running

will the music stop?