Hudson Street at Lark
Albany, NY continues to exist, albeit in a much diminished state, no thanks to the benign and at times malicious neglect of politicians from Rockefeller to Corning to Jennings who have all conspired to bring our poor city to its knees. The poor stewardship of our city's historical legacy, its buildings, has been a disgrace, marked by a criminal neglect that has led to the decay, implosion and ultimately the demolition of the few important historical structures left standing, most recently Trinity Church, built in the 1830's by hard working Irish immigrants and later, abandoned by the diocese and left to rot, implode, and die. Entire blocks of homes and business buildings that were the fabric of the dynamic bee hive of inter-related interests that defined our city for much of the earlier part of the last few centuries were left to rot and over the past few years have been bulldozed wholesale, leaving block after block of empty lots, carrying on a tradition that has marked the destruction of our 400 year old city over the past 50 years or so. Our mayor has been aided and abetted by his mournful, hand wringing partner in crime, the director of our "historical society", Susan Holland who has conspired to perpetuate this physical and moral decay to justify her existence and paycheck. She lacks passion but not pathos. She is the mourner in chief of our not so fair city to whom this elegy is dedicated...
I know I should be thankful
for the small shreds and tantalizing tastes
of old Albany they've left behind,
reminding us of what we once were
before they sold our souls and
left us a shadow of our former selves
gaping, gap toothed rows of derelict homes
yet to be burned and bulldozed,
a city cut off at the knees,
dying, one building at a time
wretched from the waters who gave birth
and nurtured this withered old woman
gasping for life and grasping at dreams.
As I sit here on this warm winter
Hudson Street afternoon,
looking, thinking, filling my eyes
with the miracle of this unbroken row of homes,
I know I should be thankful,
but it is hard.
Whenever I visit Portland Maine, a small city like ours, that slopes gently in an almost poetic and unbroken manner down to the water, unimpeded by a highway that obliterated half of our city and cut us off from the water, I am painfully reminded what we might have been were it not for the political embodiments of evil that literally sold us down the river.