Irish, Italian, Armenian…
Drinking, big families, loud.
Connection of East and West on this peninsula of fire,
drunkenness, prostitution, Neal Down and prohibition.
Now big wide road, two lanes a side, useless median,
lonely trees and grass cut off from the city.
Scary pedestrian crossing,
gash between East and West.
Marginal Ways across the median,
immigrants crossing to the center, downtown, the Old Port.
Coming home to East Bayside
Bringing back the grid.
Old family ghosts in the median.
Houses of generations.
Of loss, of celebration, of feasts, of famine.
Hard work, low pay, discrimination.
Big families, church, celebrations.
Armenians, immigrants, the other.
Rabble rousing against the “natives” of Portland.
English, “more white”, more “American” than the Irish,
the Armenians, the Italians, the Sudanese, the Somalian and the other.
Know-nothings, birthers, Anti-Immigration,
Klu Klux Klan, all drinking the same tea.
Families grow roots: brother, sister, cousin, niece, nephew
uncle, father, son, grandfather, mother, daughter, church friends.
From the same town, from the same place, with the same ingredients.
The rich feast of people making a new life.
Elder, crone, mother, child.
All living together.
Lots of people in a small place
to just get by.
People watching for each other,
keeping their language,
keeping their customs,
keeping their food.
loud, drinking, smoking,
farting, music, a good time.
Too loud for some,
conservatism is old.
Growing roots in a place,
becoming home, first generation discovering a town and country.
Second generation, roots in the old country and new country.
Third generation an integral part of fabric of a city.
Part of the government.
The “natives” grow afraid of the outsiders.
By their different ways, their different practices.
Some wearing white masks,
some in government,
some in planning.
needing a big road across the middle of the peninsula.
The middle of the city.
Cutting Portland in two.
A city reborn
Let’s rebuild the broken scar
of Franklin Arterial.
Time to mend this error,
time to bring back houses
to Franklin Street,
bring back the grid.
Slow down the cars,
it’s only a mile anyway.
The city of Portland,
the peninsula is a beautiful, colonial
It’s one of the great American spaces,
a wonderful small city.
The ghosts of Franklin Street are calling.
The trees miss their neighbors,
the families want to find roots again.
Somalian, Sudanese, Burundi.
Making roots, making families.
Let’s connect to all,
everyone makes for a great city.
Immigrants most especially.
A place of green, trees and ocean
needs it’s roots.
Let’s replant them.
And give love to all.
(c) 2013, Edmund Charles Davis-Quinn