Sunday, June 2, 2019

Jack Scott writes

In Touch with Roots

Bare earth is scarce. 

Whatever isn't paved 
is woven through with roots 
as dense as asphalt 
or composted with a toxic filth 
repelling any nature but its own.

White elephant graveyard, 

detritus of a dying city’s past 
is home to rats and Yuppies 
on this block anyway.

As leaves turn brown and I grow gray 

within this rented space 
my leaves are finally in touch with roots

Zenobia -- Colleen Corradi Brannigan

1 comment:

  1. Now I shall tell of the city of Zenobia, which is wonderful in this fashion: although set on dry terrain it stands on high pilings, and the houses are of bamboo and zinc, with many platforms and balconies placed on stilts at various heights, crossing one another, linked by ladders and hanging side-walks surmounted by cone-roofed belvederes, barrels storing water, weather vanes, jutting pulleys, and fish poles, and cranes.

    No one remembers what need or command or desire drove Zenobia’s founders to give their city this form, and so there is no telling whether it was satisfied by the city as we see it today, which has perhaps grown through successive superimpositions from the first, now undecipherable plan. But what is certain is that if you ask an inhabitant of Zenobia to describe his vision of a happy life, it is always a city like Zenobia that he imagines, with its pilings and its suspended stairways, a Zenobia perhaps quite different, a-flutter with banners and ribbons, but always derived by combining elements of that first model.

    This said, it is pointless trying to decide whether Zenobia is to be classified among happy cities or among the unhappy. It makes no sense to divide cities into these two species, but rather into another two: those that through the years and the changes continue to give their form to desires, and those in which desires either erase the city or are erased by it.

    -- Italo Calvino, "Invisible Cities"


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