MILLENIUM TOWER – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell


The gods are back, companions. Right now they have just entered this life; but the words that revoke them, whispered underneath the words that reveal them, have also appeared that we might suffer together.”
—René Char

The gods of this city, at rest atop
their leaning tower, sip smooth designer
coffee. One says, “It’s time to put a stop
to worship of numbers. They refine their
calculations and forget about us.”
A goddess answers—drowned out by a bus
passing below. “Temples don’t get finished,”
says a stern, old god. “They forget to pray.”
“That bothers you?” winks a love god, playing
the fool, sliding to the street like a fish.

“Suburbs can be nice—they’re very quiet,
with wispy trees and green lawns of rolled sod.
Their hearths are screens. No talk. You should try it
for a bit.” This was the laziest of the gods.
“I eat prayers,” mouthed the stern one. I miss smoke
from offerings, ceremonies.” (when he spoke
clouds formed around the tower’s slanted top).
“We are all numbers and have always been,”
said the slyest god. “I desire days when
people are kind and their sad noises stop.

“When we made them,” offered the lost love god
just back from the cool street, “we taught them fire
and stone. Make things, we said. We thought the odds
were long, they wouldn’t last. Now we’re all tired
just watching them speed around cherished grids.”
That goddess said something but a truck hid
her sounds. They looked at their city and wished
for better creatures. Still, the stiff exhaust
was a kind of smoke, a new holocaust.
They breathed deep. Cracked the glass. Made a fresh myth.


Mark J. Mitchell’s novel, The Magic War appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied  at Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, Joan Juster making his living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at


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