Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Photo-Journalistic Poem

No One To Blame

We’re getting new infrastructure on our street.
It’s hell out there, not just inconvenient.
We’ve got to drive over people’s lawns
to get through all the noise and the mess.
Our modest, residential, neighborhood charm
has become for us all a stress test.
Our Street

Fortunately for my boo and me,
we don’t live right on the street.
We’re back a shaded lane, half a block away.
Our landlord owns our infrastructure,
all the way out to the city pipes,
so no one’s digging back our way.
Our lane, from the other side of the street.

In our hide-out here by the woods,
we aren’t much bothered by the daily roar—
the metallic bangs, groans, and screeches
of straining, earth-grappling machines.
We don’t hear the rhythmic chug-a-chug-a-chug
of engines pumping liquid waste
through temporary hoses day and night
while new pipes are laid to final rest
in graves twelve feet below the street.
Machines, men, and The Pit

So long as we don’t drive out,
we can live in our own world back here—
our yard, our garden,
our two contented cats,
our shrubs and flowers in their pots,
while all around the shade of the wetland trees
creates the illusion of deep woods.
It’s easy to forget, back here,
how much of our ease and comfort in life,
not to mention making a living,
depends on our city’s infrastructure.
Water. Sewer. Electric.
Cable. Wifi and phone.
Garden and Woods (photo by Seb)

I walk out to the street one evening.
I look at the crater chiseled deep in the ground.
I see the machines at rest in the twilight—
a back hoe, a bull-dozer, trucks parked in a           row,
flatbeds and steel molds to fit down the holes
where hard-hatted men, soaked in sweat,
struggle to couple new pipes with the old,
dodge collapsing cascades of mud,
dig away dirt on their knees with bare hands
to locate another utility’s pipeline
and avoid crossing lines with the law.
All day in sewage they tromp and they wade.
I only hope they’re well paid.
Men in The Pit

And each morning the engines start up,
more dirt is gouged from the Earth,
a few feet more of pipe line prepared,
a few feet more of our block is repaired.
If it goes on like this,
I won’t complain.
I’ll stick around ‘til they’re done,
understanding it’s best for anyone
to anchor in port when the world’s gone insane.
What can you do? There’s no one to blame.


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