City Planning

To be above the slough and sewage and mud,
the horseshit, the clang and sparks of horse-
shoes, the blue pennants of car exhaust,

the genial and obscene ruckus of contending
cabbies, the waft of rat- and dog-
luring garbage, the antiphonal tide

of crime and police—who wouldn’t desire it?
Not from small space only does a city
grow upward, but also for quiet sleep

and the light for which buildings vie like a gang
of gawky plants. Cars plead their loud torts
in the streets. Rats shinny up the dumbwaiter

ropes like expectations of the middle class.
Never mind, we’ll invent the elevator, broaden
the tax base, and build up. Away we go.

:: William Matthews, Forseeable Futures (1987)

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