Poet's Place Poem: City Generation by Elizabeth Weber
This city loves me: even the stop lights
are concerned with my health.
The one at North and Alabama tells me, Wait!
when it turns red, and Go! when green,
not content to let me rely on my own eyes.
Usually I drive these streets and miss the aster
blooming between apartment buildings.
The killer whales hanging midair
on a building on the corner
of St. Clair and Delaware, miss
the way the Riley Towers loom
above me like Godzilla on a rampage.
Miss the human city where a man sits
on a bench with briefcase and O’Malia’s bag,
takes off his glasses and cleans them
with a gleaming white handkerchief,
a simple gesture that goes beyond young or old.
Everyday my young students in this city write
about my generation, your generation, about our generation
until my head swirls with generations
as in you generate I generate we generate
as in somebody generated this cornerstone
of the old Sears Roebuck Building
its date so faded all I can see is 19 something
erected by Samuel L somebody.
Around me new and old rise together,
mix and change into something
more than once was.
It is like what my father said to my son,
Things sure have changed
since I went to high school here sixty years ago
to which my son answered, Well, I sure hope so!
Always the hope of the young
and perhaps the old
because change is here everyday at the City Market
where pigeons still pester those eating at tables
as they did one hundred years ago,
where old men still sit and talk
and mothers still hold their babies
and ask policemen which way to City Hall.