Urban Renewal

By Jim Wilson

Art by Roger Camp

Photo by Mark Cunningham

On this Sunday morning’s daybreak,

I sit at a knife-signed,

green wooden picnic table

in a two-cacti landscaped mini-city park

on the south shoulder of U.S. Hwy. 90.

My heart laments a residually regal row

of old, tired, main street buildings,

cornice crown chiseled Adam Sloan 1928

and enthroned on the highway’s north side.

Once essential soul and sinew saving stores—

dry goods for blue jeans, hardware for shovels

and grocery for bread and for beans.

Now modern revivals embarrassingly

hawk imported ceramic cats,

twenty yogurt flavors, gourmet chocolates,

bruised books and tacky silver crosses

pinioned to plastered walls.

All stores fester blisters and bunions

of extreme eclectic art for sale.

Though scarred and scuffed

with modern graffiti logo,

the post office survives

with a valiant vestige of dignity

announcing as did the train depot

of long ago

– Marathon, Texas

Roger Camp is the author of three photography books including the award-winning Butterflies in Flight. His work has appeared in The New England Review, Southwest Review, Chicago Review, and New York Quarterly. His images are represented by the Robin Rice Gallery, NYC. More of his work may be seen at Luminous-Lint.com. His parents loved visiting and camping in Big Bend, so Roger's mother convinced him to visit and photograph in the region.

Jim Wilson is a 72-yr. old, white, male, with no criminal record. He grew up in the Trans Pecos area at Van Horn graduation from VHHS in 1968. He is a retired Texas small animal veterinarian currently specializing in grass growing, gardening, writing, and public elementary school volunteer. He is philosophically conservative republican with closet democratic idealist empathy and therefore has absolutely no credentials to be a poet. However, he has written 600 plus since 2000, and feel compelled to share them with unsuspecting victims. Publishing credits include Concho River Review, Ft. Davis Mountain Dispatch, San Antonio Express-News, The Desert Candle, Cenizo, Border Senses and others.