THE EVOLVING CITY
Evenly spaced houses with boulder sized rips in their rooftops. Plywood
in place of windows or no windows at all. Subset of a gridwork always
gray as seen from the portholes of an arriving airplane. A neighborhood
scored by jet wash false alarms ordinary siren at midday midnight. The
block. A stretch. Several turns away from the postwar flicker that drove
steam shovels and swamp dozers to create. The future could derive or
the future a hardening breath. A clean automobile beneath an empty streetlamp
in easy sunlight. A limp all hip pair of old legs in extra belted trousers
where an empty lot features a wet couch burnt plank brick. At the intersection
the sore eyes of a stoplight. Electric wire crisscrossing why what for
an old ivy wall dealership. Its jut up façade a checkerboard.
Half dusty windowglass half plywood and the one woman howling into a
bullhorn does not protest.
Daniel Gutstein is
A visiting assistant professor of creative writing at George Washington
University. He is the author of a collection of short/short fiction,
non/fiction (Edge Books, 2007). His poems and stories have
appeared in TriQuarterly, Ploughshares, The Penguin
Book of the Sonnet, and Best American Poetry (2006) as
well as aboard metrobuses in Northern Virginia. He has received grants
and awards from the MD State Arts Council, the Arts and Humanities Council
of Montgomery County, the University of Michigan, and the Bread Loaf
Writers’ Conference. He has also worked as an editor-in-chief,
international economist, farm hand, tae kwon do instructor, reporter,
theatre arts educator, and disabilities professional.
Published in Volume
8, Number 4, Fall 2007.
Read more by this author:
Gutstein's Tribute to Dudley Randall: The
Poet, Translator, and International Man of Intrigue: The Rod Smith Interview
by Daniel Gutstein (The Profiles Issue)