If My Neighborhood Could Speak

If my neighborhood could speak, it may say, try me. Getting its bravado from the flickering street lights, the barking hounds, the sirens racing down the boulevard. If you stick around it might tell you about the hit man at the end of Lancaster, home after a ten-year bit, or the cop who shot himself in the men’s room at the race track, or the young girl swallowed by a gang under the bridge. It might let you in on the secret of the boatyard fires (every now and then) or the kids whose fathers beat them for sport, or mothers whose husbands came and went like the flu. If you listen closely you can hear the boys on the school yard steps gambling with quarters, smoking angel dust, sniffing glue, stealing anything that’s not tied down, or the sound of one scared little kid going coast to coast with a basketball on the faded bent rimmed asphalt, switching hands, a swish through the chain net, like a whisper, like a slice in the air, making moves to get away from it all.



Click here to read Kevin Carey on the origin of the poem.

Image: photo by Leo Foureaux on Unsplash, licensed under CC 2.0.

Kevin Carey:

I grew up in Revere Massachusetts just outside of Boston, and over the years, even though I’ve moved away, it has informed much of my writing. I’ve actually found that the longer I am away from the city, the more it pops up in my memory and my work. I loved basketball as a young boy and played for many years on the playground in this poem. My introduction to the game was in this setting, with the reality and the challenges of the city all around me. I’m often reminded of what it was like, acting as a kind of narrative witness to the surroundings, for better or worse. This poem was written in response to a prompt about old neighborhoods at retreat in New Jersey.

Kevin Carey
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