Catheter City

Elderizing town – youth slipping away
for greener pastures of big cities
even as the desert transforms
into golfing greens, gated communities
and RV parks – irrigation networks popping
on medians, on lawns, on vacant lots
this is the real man vs. nature
not a battle up the mountain,
climbing it because it’s there,
but neutering its fearful supremacy,
taming its slopes,
encapsulating the sick, obese and weak
and running them up the line
to where they can look upon the valley below
out windows shielded form wind and cold
queue for bowls of chili and pizza slices
or sip mojitos and watch the game
on one of three HD TVs,
but a city of colostomy bags and Rascals is not enough
for the old will not tolerate the old
will not tolerate the memory of a once true community
permanent year-round residence
all signs of their existence bulldozed
and the new signs arise: “For Lease”
“Retail Space Available”
“Your Name Here”
the popular: “We’ve Moved!”
and the “Grand Opening” banner
at odds with the unopened, empty store beneath it

This is the real man vs. nature
where man concedes the battle in the off-season
where restaurants open – set the tables:
napkins, goblets, candles
waiters waiting on nobody, biding time
expressionless faces gazing into the dusk
of expansive gravel lots
where once family homes stood,
and were exuberantly razed
to make way for the hay day
that never came
in the strike of sudden economic downturn
all the hollow hopefulness starkly stands
sidewalks abruptly quitting – giving way to
sprinkler system marshes
blocks from where the big IMAX screen
displays movies to nobody,
but the show must go on and does,
miles away, on the peripheries
in 99¢ Only Stores, Subway Sandwich Shops,
Starbucks and Taco Bells
all making it
all open 24 hours a day
for the broke Zimmer-frame crowd
for a decimated town
lost in development hell
trading cathedrals for catheters
community for commerce

This is the real man vs. nature
man’s nature against himself

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