Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Urban gardens and an hommage to dirt

   It's spring finally and despite the endless rain and chill, the earth is warm.  This I found out when I worked in the urban garden on Sunday.  We planted lettuce and kale- one of those hardly tasteless vegetables that nonetheless has cute curly leaves especially when it's this tiny.  My hands had a memory of their own, placing each plant in the dirt that we first weeded (can weeds survive even a Buffalo winter?) and then broke up the clumps of dirt.  This is a city garden that Jessica and Dan organized on vacant lots, the most recent lot, the result of a crack house that burned down last summer.  As a matter of fact, we watched the smoke rising from its roof.
   There is a romanticism in a garden like this, save the neighborhood with vegetables and that is one step from saving the world.  There is also (more frighteningly) an idea that peak oil will hit and we'll all be converted into survivalists.  I go towards romanticism and my own love of the dirt of life.  After all I did grow up on a farm. 

 Here's an old poem (that needs a lot of work) from my Barcelona days. 

Terrace Series

One by one I pull out weeds,

roots a straight white line.

Plunging fingers into earth,

even store bought,


A lizard flashes behind

the stark white planter

his  regrowth

I'd claim as mine,

He reminds what isn't,

no temperate easing

into bright summer skies.

The green parrots

arrive all in a flurry,

surprise guests from afar.

Terrace Series Part 2

The tree, geotropic

leaves a crook to sit on,

Tarzan rope

swings down the hill

next to the house,

the only one,

recreated from an exile’s


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