Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fragments of City Life (a Poem for Day Twelve of PAD)

It's just after noon and I am posting my poem! I'm proud of myself for writing it early.

The opening line in the last two stanzas starts, "In this city" as opposed to the first three stanzas where it says, "In the city." This is intentional; those last two stanzas are more personal to me.

Day Twelve's PAD prompt:

"For today’s prompt, write a city poem. The poem can take place in a city, can remember the city (in a general sense), be an ode to a specific city, or well, you should know the drill by now. City poem: Write it!"

You Can't Tell from Looking

Fragments of City Life

In the city, tire treads resemble rattlesnakes,
and sun-dried flags look like old crows
guarding four-way stops, inspiration’s
pushed out by three-piece suited
headaches, blood tied up in veins
of yesterday’s dreams.

In the city, where death hides inside
bedside tables and youth has turned
to old age overnight, princes
ride in on motorized
scooters, skin sandpapered smooth
under a doctor’s exam light.

In the city, her favorite loose linen pants
have thinned in the rear and a rope of threads
at her toe flops with every step. Houses
line the streets like cubicles where fences
are so flimsy neighbors can smell
last night’s macaroni on your breath.

In this city, where the dusty road to magazine
canyon is littered with “dumping prohibited”
signs, a tickle turns into a lump
you can’t swallow away just as night
turns into a never-ending day. And days turn
into years to the power of ten.

In this city, a daughter hugs someone tight
until his light goes out; father dies while the rest
of the world is sleeping. Mother and daughter
kneel beside him, kitchen shears in hand,
snipping stranded samples to tuck away
with his ashes now smudged on crumbling decay.


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