Thursday, March 4, 2010


Streets run like water
Spilled on the world,
In bright sunlight, hissing
On the way.

Street kids play
With paper boats
That float in gutters,
Catching them
Before they reach
The sewer, unafraid
Of cars
Or germs.

But unlocking
The fire hydrant
Is a crime. Hide
The magic wrench,
or it might get confiscated
By the cops!

Sadly, it isn’t safe
To play at the real river,
Only half a block away.
The cops find
Floating there.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.

Yeah, I know. "Morbid" ending, right? I refuse the label "morbid" because it implies it's inappropriate to write (or even think) about certain subjects. Growing up in the city, we were all aware that playing in the streets had an element of danger. And the river -- the Delaware, which flowed right behind my house -- was even more unsafe. If we had forgotten this, we might not be here today.

But by the way, there was originally a "Mary Sunshine" version of the poem, with this additional stanza at the end:

All the more reason
For defiance,
For just grabbing
Any shred of joy
You can.

Fellow poets advised me to edit it out, which felt right to me. I guess we're all "morbid!"

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