By William PLEASANT
And this is Baltimore, 9/1/2014...
There is the mist and smoke and fog of holiday flesh roasting for happiness, seasoned with the rot of wet garbage melting beneath a sadomaniacal summer sun.
There are the the grey, opaque eyes of the toddlers bobbing in heads braided as tightly and barbed as wire in gross plastic balls of too many colors. These are children dragged to full march by grossly obese mothers who keep the painful cadence with a drum roll of profanities.
There are the other morbidly obese women who gather at the curbstone, bent at what were once waists but a couple of years earlier, bent in some sort of supplication while spewing neon-pink vomit to the pavement and the frolic of gorging flies.
There are the Black men lounging beneath trees, on the greasy doorsteps of tenement caves, lounging after a gnut in/on one of the obese women or some of their children, lounging after a long drink of something cheap and poisonous, lounging and decaying on living bones, as juvenile vultures circle on stolen bicycles, separating the dying from the dead and calculating the booty the night will bring with darkness.
And finally, there is me. I survey the asphalt prairie. I dodge the blowing tumbleweeds of rubbish. I step lightly, 'less I detonate the landmines--daggers of broken bottles/molehills of dog droppings--that wreath the coffin of a dead American city.
There is me in a mock quandary. My lips quiver: "Is this what the American working class dares call the star of its achievement? The singed meat and waxing sewage smells like a victory worthy of celebration?" Again, the quandary is a mock one. And I am not alone in my knowledge.