BROKEN WINDOW THEORY
The couple next door got some more
marriage counseling from the cops tonight.
My wife and I set our clocks by the first
sonata of their Saturday night symphony.
Sally owns the house; Donnie owns the truck.
For a year every time I went to trim bushes
Sally'd lurch over, breath like cleaning fluid
to confide she and "Donnie" didn't get along.
Like we didn't hear their screams, crashes, crying.
Or see rotating blue lights through our bedroom
window. First time cops came we sympathized.
Said we'd watch out for her. After the sixty-second
time she took him back we shut our shades.
Pretended sleep to avoid the practiced steps of
their dance with weary cops. Maybe we just don't
comprehend co-dependency. Or maybe, now, we do.
Does shutting our eyes to small evils allow
great ones to roam, like failing to fix
broken windows leads to more street crime?
What if the windows don't want to be fixed?
Are we truly responsible for each other?
Hell if I know.
Peter reads "Broken Window Theory":
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Peter confesses: "I was thinking about when I lived in Greenpoint in the 1980s. It wasn't hip then; it was a working class neighborhood where the bars opened at 8 AM. We had neighbors who received regular visits from the cops. At the end of the decade the police were starting to clean up the streets by targeting areas of vandalism and petty crime. I put the two together to meditate about how much we can help people who won't help themselves."
PETER M. GORDON recently released his second poetry collection: Let's Play Two: Poems About Baseball. His first collection, Two Car Garage, is available from CHB Media. His poems have appeared in The Five-Two, Slipstream Magazine, Poetry Breakfast, the Journal of Florida Literature, and Sand Hill Review, among other magazines and anthologies. Peter teaches in the MFA program at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.