Friday, April 15, 2011

Aspen Hill [a poem]

Back when we were still living in the trenches of slumburbia, we used to visit other neighborhoods as tourists to get as far from the madding crowd as we possibly could.

At the time we lived in southwest Wheaton.  To the south was Kensington, to the east was east Wheaton (including Kemp Mill), to the west was suburban Rockville, and to our north was Aspen Hill.

We spent time in all of these neighborhoods, walking the dogs and fantasizing about escaping from lower slumburbia.  We spent afternoons walking in what seemed to us to be undecayed suburban paradises, quietly marveling at the verdant landscapes and trappings of middle bourgeois comforts.  Then we would return “home” to the noise and pollution and turf wars of Connecticut Avenue Estates.

These days I pass by Aspen Hill almost every day.  Occasionally I drive through the neighborhood, stopping at Aspen Hill Local Park for a stroll or bicycle ride.

Here is a poem I wrote based on my observations of that neighborhood:

Aspen Hill

Here in tidy nestled estates
lives of workaday ritual
and captive charms
unspool in steady rhythms and routines

In front of a spreading carpet of lawn
a pleasure boat is moored
gleaming white and silver,
it promises bay breezes and Sunday sunshine

The carapaces of fiberglass and steel—
black and navy and hunter green,
flecked with shimmering mica—
are trophies of great American motorcraft

At half past three
tall teenagers swagger down
in loose-limbed boredom,
their eyes quickening to surprises

A jet black sports car
wheels around the corner
pulsing in beats and swells
and dark eyes flash cool and predatory

—MM Zorn

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