Noise, and Again Noise
My husband particularly enjoys noisy events
in our neighborhood — Rocket Man flying around
the Alamo Draft House a few months ago delighted him.
The 3-story Robot that roared and breathed flames, however,
may have convinced our yellow crowned night herons
to depart prematurely. Their noise is a low bark.
We danced in the street the night the Rolling Stones
played in the park, and often catch music bouncing
off the condos behind us as it drifts up from
Auditorium Shores and ricochets back at us,
like a meldodic Frisbee, our attention leaping
to catch the tune of our great music town.
The noise from the house next door where parties
rage until 3 AM -- or longer, is less appealing,
originating, as it does, twenty feet from my pillow.
Airplanes don't offend me here, though the jets
that broke the sound barrier dive bombing
downtown the winter before last pissed me off.
There are neighborhoods across the planet
that have become accustomed to that sound —
cluster bombs in school playgrounds, thanks to us.
The pigeons— grey, teal, white, gold, blue —
that flock in Zilker Park alongside the pool make
almost no noise at all, just a soft mumble
against The Giant clearing land along the river
to build high rise complexes, new construction projects
on parkland donated to our city by a man named
Zilker in exchange for a promise from the City
to forever provide high quality vocational training
in our schools. I wonder how he’d feel about
our drop out rate? City kids, homeless, drifting
in and out of crack houses, jail, trying to make it
without unions, insurance, a fair wage or even jobs.
Tonight our neighborhood seems delicate,
fragile to me, almost holy, in the face
of the dumb footprint of The Giant at our threshold.
Which of us will be last one out —
last to be able to afford tax increases as small homes
mushroom to mansions, last to hold out against The Giant
who wants a theater here, a sky scraper there, another,
a shopping mall, a freeway into downtown, wants
to turn Waller Creek into a white water park pulsing
with City water and rimmed with luxury hotels, density
pointing to the sky in homage to the ranting God
of money — noise, and then again, noise.
© Susan Bright, 2008
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
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