The End of Utopia


Rotting trees surround the uneven sidewalks
of the urban blight that is home
to so much pain, crime and despair;
erosion-bared roots threaten tripping,
while boarded & sooty windows
speak of arson, or management assessing cashflow.

The complex, named for the trees cut down to make way for it,
is haven to bugs and vermin, furrowing in
under floorboards, protective of their next meal,
despite not knowing from where it will come,
affording the daily benedictions of vacuums
and feral cats.

Brown longnecks pressed against thin walls
relay neighbors tropes, and sex.
The t-shirts provided to residents
are large lettered;
sewn by the office staff
from paper cutouts:
make-do work that makes work
seem more like work.

From the balconies to the rickety steps
there is heavy traffic.
Reverberations sounding like
elephants dancing in high heels,
hoofers passing through,
transient door-to-door salesmen,
given up on the out of order mailbox
or door buzzer.

In spite of the brownish landscaping,
there is inevitably a call to arms,
from the storm-haired winter soot in apartments,
the fissures cracking up the plaster board;
fountains defunct and clogged with refuse,
the so-called crystal lake filled with debris.

This is a money-lender’s dilemma, a money-lender
with a tin of coins jingling in a back pocket,
representing the small change of improvement
waiting on hearsay’s revelations.
This is a result of economic bob-sledding,
of short-term gains and long time losses.
This is all that is left of a garden utopia.

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