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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


by Phillip Barron

He sees in us a Babylon
of limitless growth and greed
of world-class furniture and more
colleges than we need
"Alexander, turn that down"

He says alligators swim flooded streets
when the NAACP gathers in posh hotels
and Reagan helped the Pope
knock down the Soviet Union
"How do they turn the train around?"

A three-point turn, maybe
Backs of buildings, precipices of parking lots,
fences, fields, and falling roofs
the backporch of North Carolina

Phones erupt, tempers hush, giggles jingle
A lone brick wall stands without counterparts
Suspension squeaks like chirping
birds nest between the iron horses.
"Alexander, plug it in so it charges up."

Swamps become wetlands but
forests become tree farms because
citizens become consumers and
"Alexander, Alexander..."
"Dad, this is our stop."

Phillip Barron’s first book, The Outspokin’ Cyclist, is a collection of newspaper columns written over a four-year period and will be published this month. His poems and short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Hinchas de Poesía, The Blotter, The Raleigh Hatchet, and Urban Velo. He has taught philosophy at the Chapel Hill and Greensboro campuses of the University of North Carolina as well as at Duke University. Barron currently live in Davis, California where he works in the digital humanities at the University of California.