Monday, December 29, 2014

The Pond

Most times

This pond

This spillway

Is filled with water

But today the water is gone

Men work

On the edge of its muddy bottom

Clearing brush from the runoff canals

When it does rain

The nearby oily streets of the city

With their multicolored surfaces 

Catch all of heavens teardrops

Then send them rushing for the storm drains

Filling the underground culverts

Swollen cement canals spew dirty water

Like outstretched tongues

From gapping mouths

These flumes will flow with fury

Gush into the pond 

At unbelievable speed

But for today

The pond is dry

The sun is up

And the men keep working

Pulling tires and trash from its bottom  

Two bald eagles

Stand in the flats

Far from the workers

They watch ducks swim in circles

Circles they swim

In what little water is left

Pooling in the middle 

In 1992

I worked on the opposite side of the pond

From where I sit now

At a grocery store

Back then paychecks were nothing

4.25 An hour to be precise

You got an extra quarter

For running the meat slicer

Gutting fish


Guiding cow carcasses through a band-saw 

So, I took the quarter

And the pink sawdust that came with it

2 Dollars more a day was a lot

When you had a baby at home

Wrapping Christmas turkeys

On Christmas Eve

For Christmas shoppers

To fight, fondle, and run over each other for

Was all part of the gig

10 years later

I was washing cars on

This side of the pond

Pushing them through a tunnel

To be scrubbed by machines

Spinning rags and drip lines of suds

Water jets blasting off

The filth of the city

Conveyer chains constantly cranking

Moving through gears beneath my feet 

In time I would leave the wash

For time is all we’re ever really in

I would leave

The dark waters of the pond

To drift in the workforce

Christopher McCandless must have been

Whispering in the wind back then

For I had the strongest urge to drift

So I became a Mechanic

A Pipefitter

A Ditch digger

A Groundskeeper

Anything to pay the bills and keep writing

Keep doing art 

10 years later

I find myself back at the pond

Washing cars with folks half my age          

After 3 months of looking for work

And being told

With the friendliest smile

“Oh Hun, we’re not going to hire you”

“We like to hire younger folks”

“You understand?”

“Don’t you?”

I was happy to be back

At this place

I’ve spent so much of my life

And here I sit

Eating lunch and looking out

On the muddy flats of

The pond

1 comment:

  1. As someone who also looks out at the pond during work, i can begin to appreciate its impact it has had on you for the years you grew up around it.

    Thank you for this perspective!