Virtues of the City, #61

The buildings plop down in slabs
of concrete, squared cakes
frosted in solid colors,
topped with satellite
dishes and clotheslines, fenced in

and open, hiding
from roof top burglars, wide
to the arching sun,
as if no care for design,
no thought of art sat
at the table, pragmatic
to space and earthquake.

The sounds are sirens and planes
overhead, commerce
wandering untaxed through streets,
birds selling their songs,
great barges of buses, filled

to the gills with schools
of plankton and shoppers, men
on their way to work,
fine suits and weather beaten
chins, no hair to shave,
the children are headed home
after school to sleep.

The buildings are squared stanzas,
nursery rhymes loaded
with rich floors, walls caked with books
and patterned by moons
and suns, freed by energy.

The children roll trucks
across hard wood, piece puzzles
together, play hide
and seek in closets, pretend
to be pirates, thieves
of mysterious bounty,
princesses and queens.

In the park, courts are adjourned
at sundown, judges
and scorekeepers set free, called
back for dinner, hopped
on buses and delivered

blocks away. They walk
over uneven sidewalks,
turn keys in locks, march
up flights of steps, led by smells
of delicious treat,
the hands of parents rolling baked
wonders on wood boards.

Lay your heads children, against
your closed hands, bowed down
to pray for safety
in these streets, political leaders
called adults watch out

for you from their offices
in those unfathomable
towers you point out walking
home, those castles you pretend

to work in, hope someday soon
to own. Don’t grow too quickly,
these buildings do not look like cake
to the ones that tuck you in.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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