Urban Renewal

The sun slides down behind brick dust,
today’s angle of life. Everything

melts, even when backbones
are I-beams braced for impact.

Sequential sledgehammers fall, stone
shaped into dry air

white soundsystem of loose metal
under every footstep. Wrecking crews,

men unable to catch sparrows without breaking
wings into splinters. Blues-horn

mercy. Bloodlines. Nothing
but the white odor of absence.

The big iron ball
swings, keeping time

to pigeons cooing in eaves
as black feathers

float on to blueprint
parking lots.


Yusef Komunyakaa, “Urban Renewal” from Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001)
More Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa