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Thursday, August 07, 2008


by Robert Anbian

Let me tell you a little bit
about my life.
I have always lived in this neighborhood
and always will, god willing.
That’s my son playing fútbol
down by the river, near the bridge.
A new bridge, and ugly,
built for the heavy trucks that come and go.
It stands where people used to ford the river,
on foot or in cars, even the buses crossed,
though the passengers had to get out and walk.
The women hiked up their skirts, the men rolled up their pants,
and everyone carried their shoes.
Everyone complained and everyone laughed.
My family has always lived here,
and the river has always been here.
When I was a kid the water was clean.
I used to bathe in it, everybody did.
In summer, families camped on the shore,
lanterns were strung along the river’s edge,
and we kids went swimming at night.
Later, when the factories came,
occupying the hillsides where goats used to graze,
I saw the water changing colors, green, yellow, red.
When I got a bit older, I started working in the factories
and my nose began to bleed.
I started having kidney problems and trouble breathing.
My daughter developed brown spots.
My son itches all over.
When I come home, walking over that bridge,
my clothes reek of burnt plastic.
And when I look at the river, I feel sadder than the saddest song I ever heard.

Samples from Robert Anbian's new spoken word CD, I NOT I, can be heard on MySpace and is available from Edgetone Records as well as major download services. This is Anbian's fourth appearance on New Verse News.