Friday, September 24, 2010

1876

my first eighteen years
i lived in an old house across
from the old town hall, erected
the later part of the 19th Century.

the tall stone structure was planed,
erected and engraved with the year,
one hundred years after
the signing of the US Constitution.

along the line, i am sure,
people worked hard, even
fudged a bit with the timing,
and were pleased it came out that way.

1876 was carved in stone
for all to see, prominently
high on the face of the building,
just below the roof top towers.

from across the street i saw it
everyday i looked.
of course, it was there
even days i didn’t look.

though years have passed, and I’m sixty-five,
my feelings for that building haven’t changed.
i respected that old place.
they knew what they were doing.

now the house i lived in and that town hall,
along with the rest of downtown,
since, have been torn down.
urban renewal they called it,

and got new police fire and city quarters
a new post office out of it, and the old bank.
things like stores, several restaurants
many bars, two drugstores,

ice cream shops, news stand,
parking, the movie theater, the dairy,
public restroom and benches,
the old hotel, things for the little people

were taken away,
not to be returned.
now there’s space
in their place.

after my forty years away,
i’m back, one street over
and a few blocks down,
living in a home dating from 1838.

in 1876 a prominent citizen and minister
was half way through the
forty - one years
he had lived here.

the town hall was called the opera house
where shows and meetings were held.
i know the Reverend Samuel Marks,
co founder of the Mason’s Lodge,

buried under the tallest monument in
the old cemetery,
i know that Marks,
had visited that beloved hall.

thus giving new significance to me,
for a once prominent building
in this town,
that isn’t anywhere.

suddenly, i’m old,
and among the last
to remember the village,
and that beloved old building.

i will fondly remember
the old town hall and the life
the way it was; until i too, wash
into wherever memories go.

in what i've said there is nothing new.
it’s what old people always, have done and do -
holding dear to precious history,
bringing to mind how it used to be.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

same fields

same fields
different crops.
roads have grown,
they’re wider.
lots.

and lots
fewer stars at night,
so many cars
more trucks,
stacked double- deck trailors.

a freeway goes through now
the middle of where farms used to be.
where i knew green
so long ago

when my friends family
plowed long days.
where Indians lost arrow heads
right over there
and years later just walking along
we found them.
it was so easy
a kid could do it.

at dusk we helped
and closed the gate
when good dog
brought the cattle in from pasture.

we drank fresh cider
from great barrels
and slept between hay bales
in the barn

now in those same fields
the farm is gone
a golf course has come,
new houses have popped out of the ground
quick as mushrooms in the spring.

a neighbors’ dog
barks at night inside the house
to be let outside to pee.
if he’s a guard dog
he must be guarding the TV,

whatever you do -
Don’t touch that dial!
blink and you could miss
what is coming next
in these same fields.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

the electric company

spot lights on the site
of the twin towers in NYC
confused migrating birds.
had to turn the lights off
so birds would quit circling.

in these times
anything happens
my first question is
who’s making money on it?
cause what ever it is, in these times
the main objective is not the good of man.

easy into it

a few minutes talking
at the table
quiet Sunday morning
door open

as always, robin on urgent business
doves calmly sitting in the yard
air still, no breeze
autumn’s on the corner

night rain dampness lingers
inside our clocks tick away
gray Sunday morning beginnings
an easy start of another day