Monday, February 24, 2020

This Is Not My Town

This Is Not My Town

Wide streets with no
sidewalks where cars
rip by like there
are no children
in the world. Trees
trimmed for growing
the way trees grow.

Sagging strip malls
and red lights and
exhaustion. There

is a river.
The river is
a great thing but
for the fact that
we don’t want to
eat from it or
swim in it. The
diesel swill and
concrete banks make
a dip or fish
too hard to get.
So we see the
river through the
grates of bridges.
We have lovely
bridges. Spans of
too disparate
downtown to make
a difference.

I wish this were
my town. I was
born here in a
hospital that
has been renamed.
Or torn down. I
can’t remember.

I think it’s the
hospital you
don’t want to go
to anymore.
I live here. I
moved back here. But
my house is an
oasis in
a neighborhood
this town forgot.
My neighborhood
looks like my town.
But there’s nothing
to buy here but
fried fish and crack
and red drink. And
who but me would
buy anything
else? That’s what the
owners would tell
you anyway
even if all
folks love good food.

We walk around
the block with the
dogs or play in
granny’s front yard
two houses down.
My neighborhood
is my town but
this town is not
my town. Over
in another
part of town that’s
not my town there
are some poets
reading. They talk
about their lives.

No one really
cares because they’ve
got to get up
to work a job
that was once a
factory job
but now maybe’s
pushing paper.
Or if they are
lucky they work
for the Navy
or the shipyards.
Anyway they
are not at the
poetry jam.
And the reading
isn’t where you
would want to go.
Not one of the
nice beer bars or
few dinner clubs.
The food here is
good. But you can’t
eat words and so
no one shares them.

So I sit on
this bench staring
at the river.
I can see a
bridge to my left.
My daughters chase
fiddler crabs on
the concrete shore.
None of this is
mine but now it’s

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