I spent the weekend at Round Top Poetry Festival immersed in poetry in person without spending a second on-line. My introduction to Round Top was a conversation overheard in a restaurant. I interrupted my neighbor’s lunch and demanded more info. Next year I wet the website four days after registration opened and barely got room and board- the workshops were already booked! This year I haunted the site all of February and managed to sign up for three extraordinary sessions. This is a wonderful event- the venue is exceptional, the poetry’s sublime.
Round Top itself is an arty little town deep in the east Texas countryside. It’s at its peak beauty in April and this year the wildflowers are exceptional, lacing the fields in drifts of pink, white, blue, yellow and gold. So it’s my great pleasure to find such a bucolic prompt as my first task…
Georgic for an Empty Lot
Empty lot – wasted space
can you waste what’s infinite?
Earth being finite, being precious
ought by human standards
though not actions
to be loved, but this is unloved land
ruined with spill
oil, blood, rust, semen, yellow piss
withered condoms everywhere
rotten tires, mattresses disgorging foam.
Broken bottle teeth plot retribution
to careful fingers reaching now to grasp
gather, clear the space, yes, eighty fingers
each assigned a few square feet of hallow ground
fill rented dumpsters squatting just outside the fence
an hour has barely past when neighbor women
come by carrying water, lemonade and pie
a homeless body, gender undetermined
trucks garbage in a stolen grocery cart
meringue leaves rings round chapped and blistered lips.
Tomorrow next day and the next muscled men
will dig the rock hard soil, not to plant
that would be one miracle too much
but just to waken, bring relief and honor
soils’ long bereavement
as to a man who stepping out of undeserved imprisonment
is met with hot and soapy water, clean clothes and home cooked food
instead they build raised beds, truck in fertile dirt, plant seed
those who garden harvest
homeless body, gender undetermined
comes every day to water.