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City Planning
Cameron Alexander Lawrence  (bio)

For Dave Harrity

There was no election, no voting
booths’ black curtains, the metal

chink of rings sliding closed.
No appointment or inauguration

to indicate the moment he had become
the mayor of the city inside his life.

 He woke one morning with keys
in his hand, spent the day jangling

 into every lock, residents looking up
from their televisions & ticker tape

 to say, So, you’re the one. He soon
found himself driving the neighborhoods, 

 blocks of public housing, the power
to condemn or endow like a perched bird

 on his shoulder, past high rises,
empty warehouses, smokeless

stacks of forgotten industry. All day
he drove, gained a vision for the city,

 what to raze or remake—
children’s parks, the river cleaned up

 into a refracting countenance of moon,
something for the people inside him

 to stroll alongside come summer nights.
He could already see it, could hear

 the music on the restaurant verandas
where everyone was dancing.

 

 

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