Thursday, June 26, 2008


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,
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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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice poem, Susan,

Great sellection of fireworks' finale!

"Bob Wills is still the king."

Happy July 4th!


10:57 PM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

I go to the city and the sounds are terrible.
The roaring never ceases in the background.

Here on the Nueches I cringe when I hear the
motor cycle freaks roaring around polluting the peace with fumes and mufflerless Harleys. Sleeping out doors even in the heat lets you relate to the animal sounds and at times the wind get rowdy and the Ravens, owls, frogs, foxes and deer can really make a racket. The pigs too make a lot of noise none of which you can here in the city without really trying.

6:26 AM  
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7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant, Susan.


7:32 PM  

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