The Present Crisis

(2 December 1989 - 26 February 1990) after James Russell Lowell

Drive down Sixth Street south of Market. People living on the street don’t keep their trash under a kitchen sink. Decaying with bundles they wait at doorways without doors. Paper and empty bottles gather in gutters. In the suburbs, privacy is not seeing the face of a woman in a parking lot as you turn to open your door; a girl with a dog at the curb— “Need Work for Food”; a man asking for directions to the church. You cannot find a good reason to call the woman with a sack of aluminum cans sister. In the garbage bins of cities, suburbs, piled in county dumps, things you wonder why people throw away, must be someone who could use them. A hundred reasons, all excuses. Dump it down the drain, bury it in the back lot. It’ll be harder to handle this little ignorance, getting more rotten as it gets older.