by Joseph Baldwin

He drew cartoons that strangely moved me; the jests
were in the foreground; the landscapes they were set in
stretched on beyond them, wan and deftly true:
the awful ordinary. Streets were shown
that had pushed too far from town, curbing set in,
lamps on poles, with nothing to shine upon
but expanse of ground, a single fire hydrant poking
its dome above a cluster of weeds, the corner
store built and then abandoned in this
waste, the “end of track,” where motorman
go out and switched the trolley pole around,
then ate his lunch. These scenes I knew, as a child.
America, in many places, was then
a land of vacant lots. I saw them from
train windows, and from the trolley car, and brooded
over them, not having then formed any
opinion, only bemused by a world unfinished.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.