Cleveland, to what shall I lichen thee? RSS

Cleveland, to what shall I lichen thee?

12 April, 2015: Cleveland, to what shall I lichen thee?


by Terry Provost
Cleveland, to what shall I lichen thee?
The morphology, physiology and biochemistry of lichens are very different from those of the isolated fungus and alga in culture. Lichens occur in some of the most extreme environments on Eartharctic tundra, hot deserts, rocky coasts, and toxic slag heaps.
   — Wikipedia

"Had we to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success – being so successful, so fast, that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in, escaped and lived to fight another day."
   — George W. Bush

We learn from the catastrophe
of American success that some
mistakes are better left
unrepaired, and
that the best thing about disaster
is its affordability. Now the mill that forged
the man of steel has belted into
crusted rust, a Mittal metal of LTV
smelted into Reaganite free-trade progress,
workerless work, jobless jobs.
Spun to profitless profit.
Wealthless wealth.

From the no-man’s-land boa-constricting
the heartless city’s heart, a glossy glass death-pyramid
flashes the eternal life of a futureless future.
Weeds budding the concrete crumble
of creative destruction, repeating
to cliché, an ecosystem of lichen
to redeem the toxic slag.

“Cleveland, to what shall I lichen thee?” by Terry Provost, from Songs in the Key of Cleveland: An Anthology of the 2013 Best Cleveland Poem Competition, Ed. John Burroughs. Crisis Chronicles Press, 2014. Used by permission of the author.

Originally from Troy, New York, Terry Provost graduated with a BS in physics, an MS in medical physics from the University of Colorado, and an MS in Mathematics; he holds three patents in magnetic resonance imaging. A three-time member of Cleveland's National Poetry Slam team, he has been writing poetry for more than 20 years and has published two books of poetry: Compassionate Imperialism and An Uncountable Infinity of Orgasms. He lives in Lakewood with his wife, Karen Cook, and son, Jackson, and teaches mathematics at Cuyahoga Community College. His poetry is concerned with what makes meaning mean, justice just, creativity create, music muse, and importance import. His poems can be found on his blog, chomsky in chains


"Unlimited possibilities @ your library®."

For this, the first day of National Library Week, write a poem about a book, a reading, a library or librarian and about a first in your life: the first time you rode a bicycle, or the first time you recall being able to read, going to the library, falling in love ….

JJ Stickney
Two things - You have to love any poem that ends in slag. And - This poem helps us to remember to not forget.
4/18/2015 8:15:02 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.