MY FIRST MANCHESTER POEM
If you squint your eyes a little
And look to your right
As you cross the Notre Dame Bridge at night
From the west to the east side
Of beautiful Manch Vegas, Cow Hampsha,
My home away from home-town,
You would get the illusion
That the lights regularly spaced
In the parking garage on the other side
Of the mighty Merrimack
Glimmer like jewels evenly set
Perhaps a diamond belt
Around the waist of the burg
That calls itself the Queen City.
But nah, it ain’t so,
And once you disabuse yourself
Of that notion and look to the left
Crossing that selfsame bridge
You spy the swanky condos on the corner
That never got completely sold
And probably never will,
Having been built on one side of the
Real estate boom, the good side,
And trying to be sold on the bad side..
Anyway, look at it from the back,
All white, starts squat, ends up towering
In the middle, with brick clad sides,
In my mind’s eye I see the superstructure
Of a funky, old time cruise ship.
In my mind’s eye. Sometimes
You gotta let your mind play tricks
With your logic, or the city
Will swallow you up.
Actually, this is a city of illusions
A couple fairly tall buildings
The locals like to think of as skyscrapers.
Apparently they’ve never taken a trip
An hour south to Boston
To see the real thing.
And most of the commercial property
Seems owned by one landlord.
I have a suggestion…
Instead of Manchester,
Why not let’s call it
Brady Sullivania? That would work.
It’s a blue collar city
That would like you to think
It’s white collar,
A destination city
If your destination
Is a dead end,
Like both ends of its main street.
The realest things in town
Are a group of old building beasts
That seemingly graze
Hunched down on either side of the river,
Like brick red dinosaurs, fewer now than before
But still there.
Even those, however, have lost some of their real.
They used to devour men and women,
Stout millworkers, and disgorge miles of wool
Armies of shoes, locomotives, whatever.. BIG stuff
Now they’ve become gentrified, rehabbed,
And spew out college students, lawyers,
And bric-a-brac unheard of a century ago,
Nothing a REAL factory could be proud of.
Maybe the only real thing left
Is the children’s museum scale model
Of the brick red building beasts
The way they looked back in the day
But then maybe not. They’re not brick and mortar,
Millions and millions of LEGOS
October 5, 2012