Poetry‎ > ‎

Parable of the Broken Window

[Listen to the poem]

 
for B.B.

Here’s a fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.


Here’s a painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.


Here’s a baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s a loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s an Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s an arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s an unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s an over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s a wife in Kandahar who forages for food

for the over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s the uncle in the Pashtun poppy fields, helping

the wife in Kandahar who forages for food

for the over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here are Silk Road middlemen who stack the bricks

of the uncle in the Pashtun poppy fields, helping

the wife in Kandahar who forages for food

for the over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s a backstreet dealer in Peoria who scores the stuff

from Silk Road middlemen who stack the bricks

of the uncle in the Pashtun poppy fields, helping

the wife in Kandahar who forages for food

for the over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s a teen at a Lake Shore dive who’s shoving fifties

into the hands of the dealer in Peoria who scores the stuff

from Silk Road middlemen who stack the bricks

of the uncle in the Pashtun poppy fields, helping

the wife in Kandahar who forages for food

for the over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s an ex-Marine and absent father sending cash

to the teen at a Lake Shore dive who’s shoving fifties

into the hands of the dealer in Peoria who scores the stuff

from Silk Road middlemen who stack the bricks

of the uncle in the Pashtun poppy fields, helping

the wife in Kandahar who forages for food

for the over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

Here’s a fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific

where the ex-Marine and absent father lives, sending cash

to the teen at a Lake Shore dive who’s shoving fifties

into the hands of the dealer in Peoria who scores the stuff

from Silk Road middlemen who stack the bricks

of the uncle in the Pashtun poppy fields, helping

the wife in Kandahar who forages for food

for the over-zealous enemy insurgent who RPGs

the unmanned probe that scans the countryside

over the arid oilfield near Tikrit that drills for crude

for the Exxon dude who discounts waste petroleum

to the loan shark who double-parks a pre-owned Cadillac

for the baker at La Reyna who delivers a baguette

to the painter who’s paid to caulk the pane of glass

in the fishing shack that sits on a pier by the Pacific.

 

But what if the window was never broken?

What if it broke but then was not repaired?

What other relative paths of usefulness or pay

might we enjoy, to keep us so fat and well prepared?

 

Written for Project Rendition performance at Momenta Art in Rendition Art Show, with David Levi Strauss and others, summer 2007.