The Great Society

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Dentists continue to water their lawns even in the rain:
Hands developed with terrible labor by apes 
Hang from the sleeves of evangelists;
There are murdered kings in the light-bulbs outside movie theaters: 
The coffins of the poor are hibernating in piles of new tires.

The janitor sits troubled by the boiler,
And the hotel keeper shuffles the cards of insanity. 
The President dreams of invading Cuba. 
Bushes are growing over the outdoor grills, 
Vines over the yachts and the leather seats.

The city broods over ash cans and darkening mortar. 
On the far shore, at Coney Island, dark children 
Playing on the chilling beach: a sprig of black seaweed, 
Shells, a skyful of birds,
While the mayor sits with his head in his hands.

© Robert Bly