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Monday, October 08, 2007


by Scot Siegel

            I am not looking out a window.
I am not standing in front of or
Behind a window. I am not sitting with my back

            Turned toward a window. This room is
A parallelogram. Walnut veneer
and wall-to-wall Berber emit
Formaldehyde. Our elected officials

            File into the chambers; we huddle
Below them on steel folding chairs. We are
The public. Mr. Brook left his daughter
In charge of the diner. He is here to save it from
Condemnation. He could lose it all tonight.

            The Mayor enters. She just had her
Hair done. I wonder, has she ever tried
Brook’s Hungarian goulash? But we could use
A crosswalk there. So many have almost died
Dashing across five lanes in the darkness

            In the rain. Simon’s carwash. They call it
An eyesore; pedestrian un-friendly. They say,
Underutilized; Blighted; The City could make it

            The next mixed-use lifestyle center;
Empty-nesters or young couples would flock there.
Lattes, soap, kitchen accessories. –
(But have they seen the way Simon sprays

            Scrubs, waxes, buffs – The way he wipes
The blade-end of the squeegee, the white cloth?)
Service with a smile; that’s our town. Twenty-six
Dollars a square foot for Class ‘A’ Retail; and Maria’s
Consignment shop would go bust quick as an

E-mail –

            Thirty-two lean forward; we cannot hear. Some
Whispering, a shuffling of papers; a hand roving
Feedback grows to screech; someone muffles
The microphone– under their spell (the hovering gavel)
we wait –

            There are no windows in this room
Where policies are molded;
Where the future is made –

Scot Siegel is a land use planner and poet from Lake Oswego, Oregon. His poems have previously appeared in Open Spaces, The Oregonian, Red River Review, among others.