Poem: The City of Good and Bad


Quiet time lingers on a dead end street
In the City of Good and Bad
The familiar reminders in each drop of my feet
And all of the times that I’ve had
Each sidewalk crack, each pavement stain
A mournful memory
Of things that once were, and won’t be again
Leaving a trace here for us to see
Wrong side of the tracks, or on the west side
Water and rails once bound us
Now we all live on either side of divide
While all that once was surrounds us
Day streets are busy, bright city not hid
Vibrant, renewing, and now
Man in the suit ignores BMX kid
Not his problem or concern anyhow
Library, post office, and city hall
Places we know and we see
Old murals fade and may soon fall
More glories that aren’t meant to be
Big, black, and shiny drives down the road
Making no mind of the truth
Lost are the dreams that he once foretold
Lost in the past with his youth
People are busy, walking along
Going through daily routine
Downtown now dancing to traffic’s song
Grey and the glass rises up among green
Long parks are luscious, water now ripples
The trails are littered with cracks
The men of old dug until they were cripples
Built a canal on the sweat of their backs
Bridge that once lifted, now lifts no more
A monument to what once was great
The glory has faded from what was before
Rust and time sealed its fate
Tattered neighbourhoods and rusty old rails
Streets that had seen better days
Bottles and cans along secret trails
Glittering in suns final rays
Close-cropped green lawns in suburban sprawl
Winding their way in twilight
Streetlights flicker and give it their all
Defend against the darkening night
Skate park is silent, there are no boards
All have long gone to home
They’ve made exodus in teenage hordes
And on silent streets, they roam
Streets now grow quiet, occasional sound
Echoes along the canal walls
Lone voice shouts out and heard downtown
Disappearing along tree-lined green halls
Flicker and neon, winking stoplight
But no-one is there to heed it
Wide-eyed street cat hesitates at my sight
Then runs into shadow, defeated
Old stores sit empty, windows are eyes
So much they’ve seen, yet they say naught
Witnessed the times when spirits were high
While most of us completely forgot
The cruiser sneaks silent between the rows
Houses now dark and asleep
The policemen know where trouble may lie
But criminals have secrets to keep
Dogs bark in backyards, warn of intrusion
Of threat that they barely perceive
Out in the dusk, causing confusion
Harsh words are what they receive
Someone there’s music, tiny and small
Drifting right down empty lane
These quiet streets are now music hall
Until silence mutes it again
The spray-painted statements barely portray
The angst and the anger in youth
Words can express and the feeling portray
The unspoken and agreed upon truth
Old park bench cracking and covered with names
Remarks and loves that have gone
High school romances are not the same
But their reminders still carry on
Skunks and raccoons are nighttime protectors
They invade as all are in bed
Scavenge the trash as food collectors
And fill their bellies until they are fed
In this Rose City, there are such jewels
And so much that has gone to waste
How did we forget, or break the rules
To change all of this in such haste?
I stare at the moon and feel sad
Are you awake to see what I see?
In this old City of the Good and the Bad
My home this shall ever be

©2013 James Takeo

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