Poem for Display in a Vacant Lot

This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series Public Poems


The concrete dreams
of bindweed & beggar-tick,
burdock & wineberry,
gravid mosquito mothers,
copperheads, a wild rose
equipped with grappling hooks.

The concrete wants to be loved,
not merely walked upon.
It wants to go home with you,
clinging to your pants leg,
or at least take a bite
your skin will remember.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
The concrete was our gift
to an unimproved land
where woods & weeds ran riot.
At best, we might condescend
to preserve some open space,

a light-green stripe across the grid.
But the pavement, too,
begins to bulge open.
There are no motels in this vacancy.
The flag of our alienation
goes down to kudzu.

Series Navigation← Poem for Display Above the Urinals in a Men’s RestroomPoem for Display in a Shopping Mall Food Court →


  1. Magnificent alliteration! The ghosts of the skalds are behind this one :->

    But the pavement, too,
    begins to bulge open.


  2. This is fabulous. Really. All the way through.


  3. I really enjoyed this. I was discussing John Clare with someone today, and we were wondering how to write poetry that was both about nature and modern. I’ll pass a link to this on to them!


  4. I bet this was fun to write. The cement reminds me of John Gardener’s Grendel.


  5. Thanks for all the comments. I almost like the damn thing myself now!


    1. Thanks. A little Southern imagery there for you. (I’d forgotten I’d used that “grappling hooks” image prior to today’s poem. Nuts. I hate repeating myself.)


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