I don’t know what a city is supposed to resemble
Anymore. This one is just a collection of buildings
Sticking their fists up at the sky, architectural
Anger reflecting the sunlight or lit up at night in
Neon colors, electric blue, magenta, mouthwash green.
My friend Frank once had an apartment here that faced
The water. Each morning, the sun burned through his window,
And he’d stand on his balcony with a cup of coffee or
Tea and watch the early sunbathers or the birds diving for fish.
Sometimes at dawn, he’d see a cruise ship elbow its way
Into the channel to dock before the passengers were awake.
The parking garage underneath his building
Used to flood every time there was bad weather.
Cars that weren’t moved in time were destroyed by saltwater,
Smells of leaking oil and mold. I had an office a few
Blocks away, and we’d meet for lunch
At one of the restaurants where we could sit outside,
Eat sandwiches, and talk. What would we say to each other now,
Sitting over French pastries at a table on Lincoln Road?
Even with repairs, the streets here still flood when the tide’s
Too high, the Atlantic curls and breaks on the other side
Of the seawall, and the lost cigarette lighter in the sand is washed
Toward Europe or Africa. The black outlines of cargo ships
Still move east, then north—not like ships at all, just cardboard
Boxes painted and set adrift—and tourists in rented sports cars
Still drive back and forth, looking for a place to park.
What can I say, Frank? Not much has changed.
George Franklin is the author of Traveling for No Good Reason (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions), Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas (Katakana Editores), Travels of the Angel of Sorrow (Blue Cedar Press), and Noise of the World (forthcoming Sheila-Na-Gig Editions). Individual publications include: Into the Void, The Woven Tale Press Magazine, The Threepenny Review, Salamander, Pedestal Magazine, Cagibi, and The American Journal of Poetry. He practices law in Miami, teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons, and is the co-translator, along with the author, of Ximena Gómez’s Último día/Last Day (Katakana Editores).