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Concrete Trees

Author: Car va g o
ASL Info:    35/M/NY
Elite Ratio:    7.84 - 180 /185 /45
Words: 159
Class/Type: Poetry /
Total Views: 1586
Average Vote:    No vote yet.
Bytes: 1139


Jamaica is a neighborhood of Queens that is economically depressed. Queens is a borough of New York City on the border of the Nassau County, a subdivision of Long Island. Jamaica is ethnically diverse but has the largest concentration of African American's in Queens.

Sutphin and Archer is a corner in Jamaica. It has been billed for redevelopment since I was five and they are still waiting. The airtrain station was built on that corner next to the lirr Jamaica hub and the sutphin subway stop below. Along the walls opposite the New Airtrain stop they have architectural drawings up of the future Jamaica to come the present looms heavy in the visitors eye.

Forest Hills and Rego Park are adjacent affluent neighborhoods recently filled with the influence of hipsters. They are younger by association.

Socialogist have found a significant corellation between the presence of trees in an urban setting and the occurence of crime. Experiments were performed were crime ridden areas were planted with trees. The frequency of crime before and after was plotted and as significant decrease in the occurence of crime resulted from the presence of trees. As to the exact relation between crime and trees, don't ask me, I'm still scratching my head.

Concrete Trees

On the corner of Sutphin and Archer
there are no trees.
The iron pillars
pass for trunks
supporting a concrete canopy
of rails and steel wheels
that run over the Van Wyck
to the fire birds
in whose gizzards
we trust.

know they want
for all
shades of green
by night
luring foreign capital
with pharmaceutical vice.

They come from the Island,
Forest Hills
and Rego Park,
pale faces
in passing cars
with a drive through craving
filled at their convenience.

At 6:30 in the morning
the closing shift
is seen descending
into the subways

with leaf loaded pockets
gathered from the streets.

their faces dissolve in the crowd,
there is comfort in homogeny.

The jet is waiting.
Their world
is of passing interest
to me
but the missing trees,
they follow me
as carry on luggage
into the plane.

Submitted on 2005-10-25 16:33:22     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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  I really love the way you started the poem, and I truly appreciate the way I understood it. I am somewhat of an environmentalist, and I live in a city. I can completely understand why there would be more crime in a place where there are no trees than a place with. It's just a matter of explaining it, hmm...
...When there are more buildings and concrete and less readily available natural resources, a person cannot just go into the forest and hunt or pick some berries to eat, nor a clearing to pitch a tent where it will not be trampled or destroyed.
If your skills do not lay in the right fields, like mathematics and sociability, and the flexibility to be molded into what society desires you to be, then you must fight for what you need to survive. If you look at homeless people living downtown, and especially if you've ever lived among them, you will know that they fight eachother for things. The natural resources for life are simply not there. The crime, therefore, sprouts from assault and robbery for basic human needs.
| Posted on 2005-11-02 00:00:00 | by Cetilearo | [ Reply to This ]
  There was a psychological experiment - I'm sure you've heard of it - where a baby monkey was raised with a 'mother' made of soft fur that could not feed it, and another 'mother' made of hard steel that had a bottle attached. Horrible to think of this poor baby, but what it did show was that the baby would only go to the steel mother for food, and clung to the fur mother constantly.

I bring this up because perhaps being raised without trees these children, and people are that monkey - looking for something to cling to, being denied something that is part of their (our) core nature. Perhaps humans are not meant to be surounded only by steel and concrete - perhaps it makes their souls scream, and that is why simple trees will calm. I know I would die without them.

Your poem is perfect in its use of language and its harshness and stark words. There is a hollow hopelessness I can feel come from it.

pale faces to the faceless - nameless.... it makes my heart sad.
| Posted on 2005-11-01 00:00:00 | by glasshill | [ Reply to This ]
  I have a personal weakness for writings that deal with our (dis) placement in urban society so for this reason I think I really appreciated this write ... but hold on while I sink my teeth in to it

There are no trees.
The iron pillars
Pass as poor substitutes for trunks.
They support a concrete canopy
Of rails and steel wheels
That run above the highway

I felt you could have done a better job on the intro, you know, it being the opening liner and everything. I guess I felt your descriptions were a bit clumsy, or rather I feel that you didn't properly utilise your talents and that you could write it a bit better. Basically I feel you could have expressed the play on trees a bit better. It could be as simple as taking out this line

Pass as poor substitutes for trunks.

Also if you take the auto caps off you have a bit of variety or space to breath between ideas and lines - kind of subtle punctuation.

Maybe its just me but I prefer action words in the present so

They lure foreign capital

could be

luring foreign capital

Here might be a better part to play on the trees in the treeless concrete neighbourhood that you expressed in the intro

With leaf loaded pockets
Gathered from the streets.

and finally, should fallow be follow?

Anyway, I am pretty surgical when I write and spend a bit of time cutting and splicing my way to the final page, so you will have to forgive me if I applied the same proceedure to your writing

The poem comes across as an alienated view of strangeness in the urban sprawl. Not so much a view of the place as a suitable habitation but as a social problem in the name of living developed through neglect. Kind of like a problem that is too painful to think about so you just carry through on observations.
| Posted on 2005-10-27 00:00:00 | by kanu | [ Reply to This ]
  Your imagery in this is very powerful, and the words you use to express it are even more so.. I think the best part of this piece would have to be the first stanza..

"On the corner of Sutphin and Archer
There are no trees.
The iron pillars
Pass as poor substitutes for trunks.
They support a concrete canopy
Of rails and steel wheels
That run above the highway
To the fire birds
In whose gizzards
we trust."

The usage of metaphoric trees is very well done and I must congratulate you..

This piece also has a deep feeling of lonliness and (what's the opposite of being accepted??) (cause it's that too) (sorry I can't think of the word right now, but yeah you get what I mean)
| Posted on 2005-10-25 00:00:00 | by Maskannai | [ Reply to This ]

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