Cities Seven

Series of seven poems about, or involving seven cities I've been to.

Vancouver

When I was smaller than now
And my feet danced more often
A lost button found me
In an empty wading pool
And hid itself in my pocket.

And from my pocket it pronounced
The names the city calls itself.

Green, it said. Reliable green
Has run of this city
Swishes its tail in playful arcs over lawns
Chases its brilliance across every park
Where eager boys catch balls
To the cheers of invisible crowds.
Green laps up the rain
And tastes the sweet sparkle of sprinklers
And glows in the fairy light before a storm.

I took the button with me onto a rusty swing
And to the rhythm of the ‘creek, creek’ it chanted
The names the city calls itself.

Clean, it said. Impeccable clean.
With familiar consistency
The city licks itself clean
While breath the scent of mountains
Passes along the ordered black streets
Where dogs walking their people
Greet each other and happily pause
While their people bend to collect the droppings
Leaving the sidewalks spotless white.

Picking dandelions till my piano fingers
Turn a sticky shade of brown
The button, safe in my pocket talked on of
The names the city calls itself.

Forward, it said.  Moving forward.
The buildings climb forward to the sky
Leaving shiny glass towers like joy-tears in their wake
Where people work and learn and play
To the soft purring of tomorrow’s computers.
The city people dream of future dreams
Holding hands with those from every nation
Who meet to soak in sun or rain
Down on the Spanish Banks.

I’m bigger now and no longer play
In that city between mountains and sea
And the button now rests in a dusty drawer
Waiting for me to take it out
And show it back into my pocket
Where it will whisper once again
The names the city calls itself.

The End

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