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.