Cincinnati Poetry Month Daily: View From My Balcony by Mark Flanigan

In this poem Mark Flanigan of Prospect Hill engages in a long honored poetic tradition, irony. I thought this the perfect poem for the day after April Fool’s. Mark is no fool, of course (perhaps a bit of a trickster); he is co-facilitator of one of Cincinnati’s longest-running featured reader/ open mic poetry readings, Word of Mouth, held the last Tuesday of each month at MOTR Pub.

View From My Balcony

looking down on the city
the houses and tenements
rise out of the ground
like so many dollhouses

dwarfed by church steeples
advertising their riches
alongside boarded up shells.

to my left stand the P & G towers,
or as I call them
Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

straight ahead
the jail squats wide
like a defensive lineman
in a three-point stance

the casino runs like a pipe
or a dream, maybe both,

and the proximity of the three—
church, jail, casino—
a one-stop convenience shop.

looking out at the city
I wonder,
does the height of each skyscraper
signal relative wealth?

by such logic, Macy’s is lagging
behind Kroger’s

Fifth Third eclipses
both US Bank and PNC,
thanks to all the late fees
they’ve collected from me.

the Carew Tower remains majestic,
if without purpose,
despite playing second fiddle to
Great American Insurance’s headdress.

everybody knows they cheated,
who’s to say
they won’t cheat you?

I make a mental note
to buy some of their stock
as a single engine plane
sputters into view
flying above it all.

looking up into the sky
I marvel at its flight
when a banner slowly unfurls before me
with a printed green lizard
and the words

“Save Money.”

GEICO wins! I exclaim.
GEICO wins!

the American Poet
would roll in his grave,
if only he were dead.
Mark Flanigan
originally published in Versus (Aurore Press)

Author: Pauletta Hansel

Pauletta Hansel is a poet, memorist, teacher and editor. On April 15, 2016 she was named Cincinnati's first Poet Laureate. Pauletta is author of five poetry collections, Tangle (Dos Madres Press, 2015), The Lives We Live in Houses (Wind Publications, 2011), What I Did There (Dos Madres Press, 2011), First Person (Dos Madres Press, 2007) and Divining (WovenWord Press, 2002). Her poetry has been featured recently in journals including Talisman, Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine, Appalachian Journal, Atlanta Review, Postcards Poems and Prose and Still: The Journal, and anthologized in Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia; Motif: Come What May; and Motif: All the Livelong Day. Pauletta leads community poetry workshops and retreats in the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond, and has served as Writer-in Residence at Thomas More College in her native Kentucky. She is a co-editor of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, the literary publication of Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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