Resisting Arrest

Pieces of cellulose wander through
the tangled urban map of blood vessels
coursing through my body.

For every time I chose fries over salad
A bunch of fat molecules loiter
on street corners, gather in alleys,
create the grime coating underground
tunnels, narrow them until red subway trains
can barely squeeze through plasma.

I am mayor to a city twenty-one years old.
My father is fifty-five.

His city has suffered from pollution
since he was ten. Trees are blackened,
breathless. Grass grows gray, stiff.
Most streets unnavigable, covered in ice
and snow that will never melt. Daily,
side street capillaries are removed
from the transportation network.

Twice now have the major highways closed
under the guise of a back spasm.
Finally the mayor's aides reveal
the decay of the inner city;
Citizens scrambling around madly
for money, shelter, oxygen,
blockaded into dead end neighborhoods.
They think there's hope; build a new bypass.
Keep the clock ticking at City Hall.

The demise of a metropolis
starts in the streets.
Don't let the cellulose gangs take turf;
break them down; find them jobs in the system!
Lack of foresight, misuse of raw material--
This is no way to run a city, but genetic
instructions are tough to impeach.

I look out the window at the stick people
whose blood runs free through wide
highways, rural valleys, clean air.
They will hopefully die of cancer, lose
their thin selves to overgrowth.
Their veins host a wild pool party tonight,
while I sit here dying of heredity.

(c) Deanna Rubin 1998 writing index