Displacement Activities

Phillip Barron

for Alberto Blanco

A canvas and nylon neighborhood
of uncertain dimensions begins
at the corner of Burnside and Second
stretching north until the Lan Su
Garden’s grouse reaches city hall.
Gardeners wait for work,
lining up for the gates to open
again someday.
  It is hard
to smile without a mouth,
to recognize a friend or even
a grin that is not your brother’s.
How long has it been since
every day remained the same?
The concerned concern themselves
with dancing on the edge
of a dollar, and fire hydrants run
dry without a drought
for three years. Weeds batter
the fence that is, for many,
the fourth wall. Two
women debate the law
of excluded middle:
either it is true that a tarp
is a roof and a roof marks a trap
where the sharp edge of self
lines a narrative map, or it isn’t.

Phillip Barron teaches at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon while writing a dissertation in philosophy for a PhD from the University of Connecticut. His first book of poetry, What Comes from a Thing (Fourteen Hills Press, 2015) won the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award for philosophical literature, and his poems have been featured in many national journals.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Six.

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