Like that airplane graveyard in Tucson,
Here’s a place for mobile homes to die.
As they crumble, residents patch holes with old plywood,
Tarps, or plastic sheeting.
One trailer stands apart, abandoned,
Full of holes, a side caved in,
No windows, no plumbing—
A rusty shell.
Given up on.
The horde of kids living in these immobilized homes,
Wheelchairs with flat tires,
They haven’t given up on it.
They love that old broken down metal shack,
Made it their own.
It serves as a pressure relief valve--
When things get out of hand, they go there.
When Mom and Dad are fighting,
When Dad and Uncle Pete are drunk and the guns are out,
When Mom’s boyfriend comes over and they need alone time,
When the police come over to talk to Daddy about where he was last night,
The place actually helped raise these kids.
It is also a lab--
What kids witness at home, at school, on TV,
They try out here.
“Got some beer from my brother!”
“Stole cigarettes from my mom!”
“Let’s play house!”
“Ouch! Stop that.”
The residents of this park
Could never afford a house in town,
Snuggled up close to its neighbors,
Down the street from the pizza place,
The library, the school, the police station.
They could not even afford the rent on an apartment
Over the general store.
(Besides, none of the families would fit, they tend to be large and unruly.)
Looking Out the Glass Door of the Last Subway Car on the Way to O’Hare
The rails move closer together
As they get further away
They touch the silhouette formed by downtown buildings--
A giant black crown.
You made it this far,
But you still haven’t left.
The car has you hostage.
You’ve gotten accustomed to your cell.
Your past is visible in the present
Your future is known—
Will you get off at the last stop,
Or will you choose to return to your origin,
Seeing the same thing
But the world rotates around the sun, and
Everything is in constant motion.
--So, even if you’re moving backward
` The things you revisit will be different.
Technically, then, you’ll be seeing things for the first time.
Does forward exist?
Does backward exist?
Is there such a thing as progress?
I AM NOT A GOD (But I play one on TV)
From my shack high on the landfill,
I see ships floating on the water.
The big ones bully the little ones,
The little ones call out to me for help.
Filled with sudden senses of purposes,
I, grunting like my cousin the ape,
Heave a cracked toilet seat into the air,
But the injustice continues.
I realize I must do more.
I grab a rope and some wax,
Run downhill as fast as I can,
Through sleazy waterfront neighborhoods,
To reach the harbor--
I am too late! All the little ships are gone.
Victims of hate
Victims of philistinism
Victims of carpe diems.
I throw my rope and wax into the oily waters, and
Glare at the supertanker, smug in its berth.
Letter to Friends on Vacation in Florida
Hello, pioneers in the melding
of High and Low, alchemists,
Friends of long-standing duration.
Hope you're doing all right in
The land of strangeness and Geritol.
Hope you make it back with
Your insanity intact.
And your kitty cat.
The days of your absence are cold
Return, renew, and replenish us,
With your absorbed, radiant warmth,
And stories of weirdnesses,
And all of that which is only dreamed of,
Talked about, up here.
Up here, where it is gray,
And cold and inward and
And maybe we can rip the wrapping off this bitch,
Introduce some contaminants.
I'm sick of this Boy-in-the-Plastic-Bubble shit.
Shawn feels that writing is an act of discovery. While he has had
seven short stories published online or in print, this marks the first
time that any of his poetry has been published. He currently teaches English
to at-risk students in southwestern NH.