#191: On Walking Through My Neighborhood, Currently Under Construction, With the Time-Lapse Camera on My Phone


For day three of National Poetry Writing Month, I take a walk through my neighborhood, currently under construction, with a time lapse camera.  Here’s the poem I harvested on the experience.

On Walking Through My Neighborhood, Currently Under Construction, With the Time Lapse Camera on My Phone

“And it goes fast; you think of the past: suddenly everything has changed.” –Wayne Coyne, The Flaming Lips

The neighborhood I grew up in,
and now, after a twenty year exile,
the neighborhood in which
I currently live, is transforming,
expanding, bursting at the seems
with new construction: across
the street from my home, 32 houses
are going in where a short seven
months ago there were only four.
My son’s new friend, a little guy
he spent all last summer with, his dad
and his roommates, another family
and two other individuals, long-term
renters, were all forced to move.
My son never heard from
that young boy again, the only
personal casualty, besides the dozen
or more oak trees and scores
of other kinds of greenery, now
gone and replaced with gravel,
dirt, pipes, tractors, cranes,
trucks, all the industrial detritus
of progress.

I decide to walk out the front
door, down my own gravel drive,
across the street and into the
wreckage (abandoned now for the
weekend), and capture the scene
with my phone’s time-lapse
video. It’s a long walk through
this barren landscape bordered
by older developments and some
brand new ones from the previous
seven or eight years of steady
development, and my home
across the street, an English tudor
from 1931. Soon, within the half
year, a hundred people or so will
live here, will occupy this devastation
and bring it back to life.

So we grieve the displacement
of people, the tiny little creatures,
the trees, shrubs, and the old neglected
but affordable housing, and wait
for the new neighborhood to sprout
up here in this place, bringing. . .
who knows what, a newness,
a crisp, manicured and expensive
newness. Despite the mess, despite all the
various carnage of infill, possibility
abounds, and change, and we greet this
as best as we can (what choice do we have?)
with welcome and good cheer.

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