To Walt Whitman

Dear Walt,
Your Long Island has changed.
The rolling Manhasset Hills running along the North Shore are now rivaled
in height by landfill mounds rising out of the South Shore marshes,
their summits obscured by sea gull clouds.
Gone are the potato farms, the land has been divided and subdivided
becoming tract homes, Levittowns, co-ops and condos.
Your leaves of grass are kept green by chemicals, bordered by fences,
trimmed prim and cut to village code.
Public parks preserve and protect nature with chain-link fences. (So the trees can’t escape.)
Meadows are country clubs, the woods are golf courses and pasture land
developed into shopping malls. (In Huntington one bears your name.)
Beaches are smaller, the sand has been eroded or carted away,
but they are still accessible for a price: residents pay less.
Water-ways overflow with pleasure boats and are sometimes colored green
or covered with oily rainbow slicks and aluminum cans.
You can almost walk across the water now, but, then again, You always could.
Cow paths are now parkways, and people are now cattle herded into railroad cars
bound for the city. (I wish I had a prod when I commute.)
Traffic that leisurely flowed across the East River by the Brooklyn Ferry is now jammed
and clogged on bridges and tunnels, while, at night electric street lamps light the roadways,
out-shining the stars.
Walt let’s face it Long Island is caught in the tentacles of the Megalopolis,
it has been filleted, the head chopped off and swallowed by the city.
The middle is life-less, over-indulged, bloated, and the tail wags as a playground for the rich.
The Paumanok is a dead fish.

 

 

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Friday, December 9, 2011 - 22:20

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