Tag Archives: bill shaner

This City Is A Garden

Inspired by Worcester journalist Bill Shaner’s phrase describing the city’s attitude toward the unhoused.

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds 
who keep popping up

in the cracks
of what we want to believe
is true 

about the state of
the heart
of our common wealth

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
who keep showing up 

in places we pretend
we want to protect
and preserve

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
we say we are willing to replant

in better beds somewhere else
in tiny pots somewhere else
Maybe they’ll be OK then

but in the meantime 
let’s have a mean time
and find them however we can

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
disrupting our postcard campaigns

What we really want 
is a more manicured view
of who we are

than the one we see
when they show up
on corners

with cardboard signs
forcing smiles toward us
to make their empty hands seem

less a reflection 
of who we really are
and more a cartoon we can dismiss

This city is a garden
and they are the weeds
we long to uproot

and toss even farther aside
until someone else can figure out
how to fix the soil against their return

This city is a garden
They are the weeds
as are roses in a cornfield

if their presence
gets in the way of power’s idea
of progress or profit or propriety

This city is a garden 
being readied
for harvest 

Who knows who will have the say
on how soon today’s roses
will become tomorrow’s weeds