Selling Ladders for Scrap

I used to live downwind of the slaughterhouse,
the one below the high bluff where the state pen towers,
commanding the best view of the marsh lands
and the stink ponds making lime outta poop
for the crops not meant for human consumption;
by the dry grass parks with the broken backboards
and the netless hoops that never slow a ball down.

I used to live downwind of the rendering plant,
where the bubbling lard becomes aerosol
and the air reeks of freezerburn bacon. ammonia and feces,
below the high bluff where the trustees cut grass
in the clean air not meant for the locals
mixing with the immigrants and loser folk
who have knots in their shoelaces that
press against bone when chasing a loose ball.

This town never grew up. Doesn't need to.
There's plenty of ground for the taking.
Plenty of farmers selling out to the downtown club
who cobble the streets in past time fashion,
netting big gains from the professional set
lining the smooth roads annexed to the east.

I used to live downwind of the closing in stink
of renewal, where the cheap rentals and struggle
stores with the marked-up Walmart brands
lining the shelves - expired but still edible -
bide their short time compressed and diced
up like leftovers for dogs.

But this is America. I don't live there anymore.
I got myself a cush gig with a padded ladder
to the top. Did everything I needed to do
for that sure climb out into a cleaner air,
only to find myself bruise-faced and reeling
when the profits didn't match the dream
and the ladders were sold for scrap.

◄ To Tracy on our 25th

The Slow Waters of our Love - Ghazal ►


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Devon Brock

Mon 5th Aug 2019 22:07

Thank you for your comments Jason, MC, and Leon. It is a very real issue in many American urban environments, the ghettoization and eventual dispersal of the poor, the immigrants. And some of those communities are vibrant culturally. The one described still stinks when the rendering starts, but it is getting carved up, for new green spaces, retail opportunities, boutique promenades, with flashy new multi-family units, etc., and the poor find themselves in the very real dilemma of a lack of affordable housing. But the fat cats down at city halls nationwide do very little about it, some lip service here and there, but no real action. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.


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Jason Bayliss

Mon 5th Aug 2019 16:13

You write description like no-one I've read before Devon, it is a rare talent and one for which I am truly appreciative as we get to read it for free, which is also a rare delight.


J. x

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M.C. Newberry

Mon 5th Aug 2019 15:55

A descriptive tour de force of a more downtrodden than downtown America, full of memorable word pictures that bring the entirety
into sharp whiffy focus. My own memory of a visit to family in the
deep South many years ago was how vast it seemed to my English eyes and- as a consequence - how much was a portrait of "use,
discard and move on".

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Mon 5th Aug 2019 13:51

according to your yet again fantastic writing skills Devman, this does not read as my kinda place but I am at the mo looking to purchase a pair of those kinda escape ladders.

gonna need time to come round from being knocked out again

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Devon Brock

Sun 4th Aug 2019 22:52

Thanks again, Adam, had to get a bit of bitterness off my chest, finally. What was that about catharsis? Now I can move on to toads and stinkbugs, as is my preference.


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Adam Rabinowitz

Sun 4th Aug 2019 22:37

Great descriptions and societal commentary combined.

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