Monday, November 26, 2007

Empty Lots

In cities everywhere among the homes
and business buildings there are empty lots.
Rectangles of open land with rubble
scattered around from what used to be there.
Plants, insects, small mammals make lots their home.
Empty lots are urban wildlife preserves.
They’re called empty lots but they’re not empty.


I grew up on Chicago’s near south side.
When I was a kid I loved empty lots.
Every summer I’d explore all the lots
within a couple of miles of my home.
Each lot had its own personality.
Some had low weeds. Some had giant sunflowers.
Some had beautiful orb-weaving spiders.
Some had logs with mouse nests underneath them.


I’m an adult now. After a fashion.
Grown, I often feel like an empty lot.
My life, rubble from what used to be here.
My self, wild like plants, insects, small mammals.
I am an urban preserve of something.
Something with some kind of order, value.


The modern world is a world of cities.
Cities are living things, made of buildings.
Empty lots, whatever they may contain,
are not buildings. They’re out of place today.
I’m not empty. But in the modern world
even I have to call myself empty.

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“Shanghai looks like the future!”
Paris Hilton

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