A Poem for the Flower Garden Neighborhood

A Poem for the Flower Garden Neighborhood
by greer bevel
An elderly Chinese gentleman strides
Upright, midnight blue suit-clad, black leather shoes, shining, polished
Alert, aware, each seven a.m
I greet him in my broken-down Mandarin
Late for my own routine if I don’t see him on his rounds.
Our homes, well-insulated by the wall topped with broken glass set
permanently into concrete
At least fifty years ago.
As if designed to keep out criminals, hecklers, doubters, Mongols
Slogans long ago hidden with a brush
The paint, though applied with skill, relents to cold, heat, and rain
Ideas peek through and find new legs to walk forward
Trees, with feet in a firm grasp of the loamy soil
In our terrarium, independent of  this city
To silence the city from our still-sleeping ears
This service they offer our wall in close harmony,
To dampen the sounds of the combustion engines
Filtering out their wispy blue byproduct
Evening brings the cats out
Seemingly all related, with similar markings, genetic traits worn on their fur
My elderly neighbors leave scraps for their tribe
Their feline olfactory glands sense the offering
Sleek hunters forgo idle play for immediate and competitive consumption
Surprisingly tonight, the stars are visible despite the factories’ foul breath
A figure makes its way slowly down our lane.
Midnight blue suit, black tonight under natural light
Shuffling, missteps, singing loudly,
His gait touching left gutter, right gutter
The cats want no part of this erratic waltz
From the figure that fed them mere hours ago
The featured vocalist of tonight’s show
Conducts his own slurred orchestra
As the house lights come up
From every window in earshot

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