Thursday, December 17, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Crabgrass in Suburbia” by Shawn Aveningo

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Crabgrass in Suburbia” by Shawn Aveningo.  Aveningo is an award-winning, globally published poet, whose work has appeared in over eighty literary journals and anthologies, including LA’s poeticdiversity, which recently nominated her poetry for a Pushcart Prize. She is co-founder of The Poetry Box® www.thepoetrybox.com, managing editor of The Poeming Pigeon, and journal designer for VoiceCatcher. Aveningo lives in Beaverton, Oregon.

Crabgrass in Suburbia
Shawn Aveningo

The sheer horror of the thought.
Crabgrass!  In my neighbor’s lawn.
Quick.
Somebody
            call Chem-Lawn,
            call Monsanto,
            notify the Neighborhood Association.
We must
            alert the authorities,
            start a protest,
            propose new legislation.
Across the street they’re painting
            their house BLUE,
and did you hear?
There’s a house down the road
            that’s painted every color
            of the rainbow.
What will we do?
Don’t they know
            the surest cure is prevention.
            A religious intervention
            is what they need.
We must take matters
            into our own hands.
            Pour me some tea.
Fetch my gardening gloves
            and my rubbers.
            (Don’t ask ….I’ll never tell)
We must build a wall
            to protect ourselves from these evil weeds.
Crabgrass, y-know, is the work
            of the Devil.
Dear God, fear not.
            We will avenge thy name
            or else.
Or Else
            we might
            have to actually
            change—and

Love Thy Neighbor.

Poet’s Notes:  I wrote “Crabgrass in Suburbia” several years ago while living in the suburbs surrounding Sacramento.  There was a lot of talk around the water-cooler about an article in the paper—a lawsuit regarding a house being painted yellow without the prerequisite approval of the Homeowner’s Association.  Meanwhile, signs were sprouting up in lawns supporting Proposition 8 (a ballot measure to deny gay marriage).  These simultaneous events provided kindling for writing a piece about our ever-growing culture of judgment. 

Editor’s Note:  This one strikes a chord with me, as I absolutely LOATHE home owners' associations.  Aveningo poetically captures the evil, busybody HOA personalities with her short, imperative lines and clipped line breaks.  Her moral lesson is nicely stated--not over the top, but just right. "Crabgrass in Suburbia" was originally published in Mountain Tales Press' Whisperings Vol 3, Issue 1, 2014.

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