Jim Zola, The Revolt of the Landscape Crew

Jim Zola
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.

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11 thoughts on “Jim Zola, The Revolt of the Landscape Crew

  1. Perhaps the feeling of not being important enough to make noise is one of the most frightening for a poet who fashions something out of the nothingness quiet. This poem hits onto one of those emotions that has no word to define it.

  2. A well-rendered and perceptive view into another profession, including the life that surrounds the job – the bosses, and the recipients of the work, who peek out. Very sensitive, in all the meaning of the word.

  3. Wonderful poem // excellent thumbnail of our culture of excess.
    My favorite stuff:

    .

    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, and

    And the parting of curtains.

  4. For me, the poem begins with “These days….”. Maybe not the story, but, for me, that’s where the real strength of the poem begins.

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