Poem for Display in a Municipal Building

This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series Public Poems


Abandon hype, ye who enter
these sound-proofed rooms:
you can fight City Hall all you want, really,
provided that your words
are bland as water & promise
Open bribes will not be tolerated.
The voters expect transparency
& paper trails, sometimes even
the anodyne of a Town Hall meeting
where one by one they can stand
& state their names for
the record, that stagnant pool
that reflects everything
but their weariness, their anger,
the way their hands rise
like saprophytic flowers toward the sun,
their touching gratitude at finally
being recognized to speak.

Series Navigation← Poem for Display in a Hospital Waiting RoomPoem for Display in an Abandoned Factory →

6 Replies to “Poem for Display in a Municipal Building”

  1. Well now. I was just getting your library poem prepped for posting on our library bulletin board, when along comes this one. I can’t tell you what a temptation it is to stick this one upstairs near the boardroom where the City Council meets.

    I have watched our tentative saprophytic hands rise for permission to speak a various occasions. At least they get to speak. Someday something might get done.

    Sadly, we live close to a community where a man, crazed by frustration and some mental illness, spoke with a gun.

  2. Beth – ‘Fraid not. (Though from what I hear, Florida politicos are second to none!)

    Joan – Yes, it could always be worse. Co-option and token democracy are always preferable to out-and-out repression. Or, needless to see, mentally unbalanced people with guns. Not to be confused with people with messianic complexes in charge of the most powerful military in history.

  3. saprophytic!
    that has to be the best use of that word, ever. starting from “the record, that stagnant pool..”
    i love this whole series.

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