Jim Zola, The Revolt of the Landscape Crew
REVOLT OF THE LANDSCAPE CREW
The council rules against noise,
looks towards us as they fine-tune
phrases; aware of the shadows
we cast on their manicured lawns.
They want to take away
our blowers. The bosses barely blink.
There are more able bodies
to fill the pick-up trucks.
These days the talk above the din
of mowers is less jingo,
more muted sputtering.
I invite the clouds, watch drops
wet asphalt, concrete. We sit
in the Texaco shop, sip
scalded coffee and flirt
with Alyce whose two-inch nails
provide a focal point
between the muffins and the swell
of her uniform.
We never talk of rebellion.
It’s in the dark moon under
our fingernails, the whispers
outsiders don’t trust, the way
we hold a hoe and barely bounce
in the back of the truck, stare
into mini-vans. It’s strange –
there are no children
in the neighborhoods we work.
Just dogs we never see that bark.
And the parting of curtains.
Author’s Comment: this poem grew out of a story I read about a community, perhaps someplace in California, that was banning the use of leaf blowers because of the noise. As I pumped gas one morning before going to work, I watched all the trucks with landscape crews pull into the gas station to fill their cans with gas. For that brief time I saw myself on the back of one of those trucks.
Bio: Jim Zola lives in Greensboro, North Carolina and is a children’s librarian. His poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies. His chapbook titled The One Hundred Poems of Weather was published by Blue Pitcher Press. His manuscript of poems, Sabotage at the Subliminal Tape Factory, is looking for a publisher.