Tuesday, May 17, 2016

poem of the day 05.17.16

the only adult on this block

if i’m your go-to guy
for civic responsibility
then surely polite society around here
has broken down and devolved more than i thought
but the water has been gushing
down seventy-fifth street for an hour
a formidable river cutting this part of brooklyn in half
most likely from a busted fire hydrant
and of course all of the people outside
are standing disguised as small packs of philosophers
asking to each other, but what can we do?
the ones with cell phones
they’re stopping to take photos of the rushing watercourse
with that familiar skyward, tapping pose
i can tell they’re posting pics on social networking sites
instead of calling the proper authorities
so it comes down to me to play the only adult on the block
navigating the phone tree for 311
i watch thousands of gallons of water rush down the street
carrying sticks and leaves and paper
ubiquitous plastic bags and fast food wrappers
go sailing on by
to where, i have no idea
and the operator on 311, she wants to know more about me
than what’s actually going on
my name, my phone number
how long i’ve lived at the residency
lady, i say, what in the hell does this have to do with anything?
she says she needs the information for a report
report? look, i tell her, you’re losing water  by the millions
while outside the denizens of the street are still strolling around confused
walking their asshole dogs while kids cry and try to jump into the deluge
311 operator tells me the EPA has one-day to respond to my claim
in one day we’ll all by living underwater, i say
this borough will be a virtual atlantis
but that doesn’t scare her at all
she probably lives in staten island
she thanks me for calling and tells me to have a nice day
as i stand there with the dead flip phone in my hand
watching all of this waste continue to pour down the street
thinking next time this happens
i’m not calling anyone
i’m going out for a fast food cheeseburger instead.


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