Love On The Brownfield

There was a factory here once–squat red brick structure

With too much noise and too little ventilation,

All in the service of making typewriters,

Unwieldy, cacophonous clanking anachronisms

Whose time, like the town it occupied,

Has long since come and gone,

The only businesses still open being junkyards, consignment shops

And those shabby, tattered concerns

Which flower–improbable, cactus-like–at the intersection

Of the vagaries of memory and the ascent of decay.


Nothing sits here now, simply an empty lot

Returning to Nature, although half-hearted attempts

To accelerate that process have not taken root,

As the soil–fouled by metal shavings solvents

And God knows what else–has proved less than amenable

To anything save weedy grasses and scrubby boxwoods,

So it sits empty, impossible to build on

(There is liability in every spike of crabgrass,

A potential lawsuit in every patch of clover),

And wholly impractical as parkland.

The firm which owned the site put up a fence

To keep whatever was in there in and everyone else out

(In their final addition of injury to insult,

The check they paid the fencing company with bounced),

But a generation of winters and general inattention

Have left the chain-links a patchwork affair,

And though the “POSTED” signs remain

(Their original color having faded to a benign maroon),

Enforcement of their edicts is spotty at best,

So we lie here, unbothered and alone,

On an odd little mound at the back of the lot

As the dusk begins to take hold.


5 thoughts on “Love On The Brownfield

  1. Lovely surprise at the end!!

    Here in California, a lawsuit sits on every square of concrete and under every rock.

    When we were building our house up behind the peak, the dog found a thigh bone of something.

    I jokingly yelled up to my husband that Elsa had found an Indian bone.

    He did not find this comment funny, at any level.

  2. I thought this was great. The visual flow goes throughout. What I really really dig is that despite you writing about things growing old and decrepit, there is none of the usual melancholy or flowery blah – the voice is dry, almost factual, no longing, just a passed era.

    If I could offer one random-dude-on-the-web opinion, for me the lines “(There’s a liability in every spike of crabgrass”… and the next one kind of break the flow, but obviously that’s just me. Loved the work.

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