The Past –
Beautiful houses boarded,
Streets covered in trash.
Sold for their metal.
People, in high-rises housed,
Like so many cattle.
The 'Jew-Jew' doesn't live here anymore.
But, locals remember when he kept the store.
Need something – no problem if you have a thirst
Just remember when payday comes, who gets paid first.
A cold February morning,
Out the window. It's gone without warning.
They missed the bus and took the car
You'll get it back. Didn't go far.
Up the walk comes the small mailman.
Don't mess with him; he's got mace in a can.
Passing houses of residents, long since gone
He knows each slot of someone's home.
Ragged vagrants to the shadows keep,
In the early morning hours when neighbor's sleep.
Hoping to find valuables, in another man's midden,
And they do; if the treasure's not very well hidden.
On a bus stop bench, neatly painted in green,
Is stenciled an epitaph to elders, keen.
'Baltimore, the city that reeds', it clearly states,
Reflecting knowledge; another generation awaits.
In the alley, hidden from sight,
Small boys toy with a pistol found last night.
Click on the cylinder, missing a shell,
Recently ended a life and doomed another to hell.
In pants of black leather, the slight man-boy
Returns from an adventure as another man's toy.
To his friends it's know that he's slowly dying,
But to his mates, about his disease, he's lying.
The building's reborn, history revealed.
In a wall, covered with paper; concealed.
A 'butcher' knife. Traces of blood couldn't be rid.
Is this the reason, in this wall, it's been long hid?
Be twixt floorboards of tongue and groove pine
Lie records of inhabitants of another time.
Rusty but still sharp, is many a pin
Here an immigrant seamstress, long hours put in.
Movers arrive and with bulging muscles do their best
To finish the job before the sun sets in the west.
By six, ladies arrive and parade without fear,
Offering the laborers what they want, and which they value so dear.
The house's 'occupied' and the neighborhood's quite.
No vagrants ‘ll sleep here at night.
Every morning, another adventure begins
As th' new family adopts the house it's moved in.
The old house 'begins to sing'!
Revival. See what the future does bring.
Scabs once covered the majesty of Baltimore streets,
The scars may remain, but it s heart-beat entreats.
New Year –
Good people, good food, and sights abound,
Baltimore will rise up, it's that kind of town.
Near the airport, the official sign's a stopper.
Says, 'Welcome to Baltimore.' Certainly, it's proper.
Someone painted an addition, in the best of Mencken,
'Hon! ' Amen.