How It Ends

Written February 2006

Tab G, capo 10 (F)

how_it_ends

a strip mall wasteland, what gets built breaks down again,
the weeds find weakness in the pavement
a sign says “see you in the spring,”
but it doesn’t look to me like they’ll be opening again,
+++ all the way from Canton to Butler
+++ waiting at the stoplights, I’m half-sure
+++ that this is how, that this is how it ends..

down in Millvale at the going-out-of-business sale
I bought a calculator & some blue pens,
the flood was too much so the old man hung it up,
& now he’s selling 40 years of odds & ends,
+++ I asked him if he’ll fix things at home now, he said
+++ “not if I can help it,” blue eyes washed out,
+++ he lit a cigarette..
+++++ everyone’s from somewhere, maybe you were born there,
+++++ and everybody knew you, knew the ones before,
+++++ pictures in the windows, the usual mementos,
+++++ it’s on the tip of your tongue, waiting there to be sung:

home, call it home, where we’re almost alone,
all my migrants and ghosts leave the holes I love most,
they’re at home..

by the boomtowns all the chain stores come around
to replicate their retail DNA,
it’s just the same stores, there’s a Target® by the Boston Market®,
or there’s a Wal-Mart® by the Chick-fil-A®,
+++ and here beyond the reach of the upsurge,
+++ for everything that’s local a slow dirge plays,
+++ it’s just we watch it, as we watch it fade,
+++++ everyone’s from somewhere, maybe you were born there,
+++++ and everybody knew you, knew the ones before,
+++++ pictures in the windows, the usual mementos,
+++++ it’s on the tip of your tongue, waiting there to be sung:

home, call it home, where we’re almost alone,
all my migrants and ghosts leave the holes I love most
they’re at home.. where we’re almost alone,
+++ all the way from Burrell to Freeport,
+++ waiting at the stoplights, I’m half-sure
+++ that this is how, that this is how it ends,

a strip mall wasteland,
what gets built breaks down again,
the weeds find weakness in the pavement…

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