Friday, November 9, 2012

Branches (A Poem of Intolerance)

There is something that bothers my neighbor
That irritates her, makes her skin crewel
That creates a humming stammer in her voice
And even makes gaps, silent ones as she talks
To my wife about the heap of trash across the street
Her kind of row is another thing indeed
Where she doesn’t let one idea stand too long,
Without her spinning it dry…
Not even one minute’s rest, lest she lose her focus 
Be tongue-tied, and God forbid that!

We are talking about last week’s branches,
Which is what is lying on top of the heap, kind of —
To please my neighbor—referring to my branches,
I’d have to get rid of the pile of rubbish too
The one, everyone tosses garbage underneath
On top of, stretching it out down the street some!

My wife let my neighbor know what I said:
That her dogs urinate, leave their seepage and dung 
All over our lawn, sidewalk, and steps—
We have to wash and clean them daily!
All around the park across the street too
Even on the arc light poles, and on top of the heap—!
The one with my branches on, that her eyes are on.
Oh, she watches her five dogs all right, when you’re looking.

To each this burden now has fallen, for me it is the branches:
We have to use nice words to keep the balance:
“The neighbor up the block has a junk car,” my
Wife complains to her on that, she has nothing to say.
Oh, just another kind of neighborly game for sure:
One to each his own, it adds up to little more.

She is all for the neighbor’s heap, but not my branches
Those branches lay upon the heap, and for her
Messy dogs — ‘well,’ she says ‘that’s another story!’

She will never understand my branches,
Nor I, her dogs, and the neighbors heap across the street
Nor the car that has sat vacant for seven years!

Are we not all responsible for its parting?
If I could put an idea in her head
“Should we not all work this out together to rid one whole
Neighborhood of branches, messy dogs, heaps of dirt?
Loafing cars: making for a clean and better neighborhood?”
She says nothing to this, the issue remains: my branches.
Before I hired the branch cuter, I asked him:
“Please take the branches with you, when done!”
As you can well guess, he never did.
He also is a neighbor who lives nearby, and I sure you
He has his little heap outside on the street, too.

Something irritates my neighbor about me—
Maybe because I’m an American, who’s to say?
She won’t ever tell me, not the truth anyhow.
My wife and I, whom she gives offence to,
She moves with slyness it seems
Like a Jack in the Box, she pops up and out!
Not of concern over those dry old branches
Or neither the heap, nor her dogs messes:
Then what I ask myself, ‘What is it?’ 
She takes my inventory, not her own, nor her
Neighbors, just mine alone…!
Perhaps if she had more to do in her life
She’d not be so busy, trying to take care of mine!

#1314 (From a morning dream came Branches 4/14/06)) Written while living in Lima, Peru)) Reedited for publication November, 2012