An individual has not started living
until he can rise above the narrow
confines of his individualistic concerns
to the broader concerns of all humanity.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a garden in suburbia
a man puts a fence around
his garden, he likes to sit
in his garden and watch
the wheels turning on the
his garden is roughly square
next door’s garden is an oblong.
all the gardens in the street
are different shapes, different
things happen in each garden.
a new family have moved in
they are different too, they knock
down all fences and take over other
people’s gardens, ruining the street.
the police stop responding to
your calls as they have more
important things to do.
the nice single parent from two doors
down has asked if she can pitch a tent
on your lawn and you agree to this
and even take out takeaways for
the children. It’s not as if you can’t
pretty soon all the street is camped
in your garden and the neighbours
who ruined it all are burning down
their own garden and throwing stones
at the people in yours.
soon there is nothing left to do but
leave the street and seek refuge in
neighbouring streets as your street
is unrecognisable now and just not safe.
the other streets have set up
a neighbourhood watch but it’s too late.
they don’t want problems like that
in their streets which are still safe.
the neighbourhood watch have gone
into your street to negotiate with the
family that has ruined it but they are
beaten up and don’t want anymore trouble.
you could raise an army with all your neighbours
and storm the street, recapture it but everyone is
hungry now and tired of living between streets
and anyway half of your numbers are children.
a prosperous street a few miles away
has offered you a place but you are trapped
between streets that won’t let you pass or let you in
and can’t decide what to do next, occasionally
they throw stones, some days food.
important people are talking about you
they all say it’s a crisis and look good
through the television shop window.
but none of them seem to make a decisive
move or sometimes they get a gang of lads
to throw stones at the people still in your street.
which is unrecognisable now and just not safe.