No Rest on Avenue B

The neighbors howl in the night
allowing sick family values
to spill across their lawn
into Luna’s waning light.

In my bed, I translate words that slur
through the air to my window
and detect escalating anger.

It’s seconds past 2 a.m.

Intractable accusations
lead to F-bombs and wailing
and I wonder if they’re drunk enough
to forget the mistakes they weave together
in the small hours of day.
These eruptions leave traces
of angst across our yards
that linger like confiscated notes
exposing secrets between friends

My conscience tells me to shut the window,
to call the police, to confront them,
but instead I lie here and listen.

There’s no rest on Avenue B tonight.

Brenda Warren 2013

Process notes: These words were difficult for me. I did not use “lab.” I wanted to write a piece about summer, but the darkness in the words prohibited its completion. So instead, I wrote about my neighbors. Although this happens a few times a year, they are generally nice people.

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25 thoughts on “No Rest on Avenue B

  1. I’ve lived in that neighborhood before. Thank God I don’t now. So much of my life depends upon peace so I can think, study, write, paste, glue, sew. Every Saturday night I look forward to receiving the words from your pen that gift me a solace in words. The last two weeks’ gifts have been special, allowing me to write about writing. Thank you for this.

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  2. It is even worse when the bed you lay on is in the house where there is no rest.
    While it wasn’t always like that, there were to many nights like that when I was growing up.

    Thanks for your continued support of great word lists. 🙂

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  3. Yea, some neighbors need to think before broadcasting their mayhem. Yea, I don’t want to hear your argument right now. However, the black 4 legged ones (bears) will you just have put up with antics. Great poem!

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  4. As I read your words, I thought you were writing of the injustice (to me) of the recent verdict in the US for which many are protesting. It could be translated to a greater world than your street. A vivid and powerful write.

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  5. The words went a different direction from your original intent of writing about summer! Could imagine all this happening as I read it. Hopefully life will settle down for your neighbors.

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  6. I could well picture this scene with me in your place!! 🙂 But after a health scare these neighbours I have at last sobered and subdued with age!! 😉

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  7. This is wonderful, but mostly I’m bowled over by your use of the wordles, in ways that hadn’t occurred to me at all! “sick values” is just great.

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  8. Those sort of things are so disturbing and can set a tone for the day to come. I heard a gunshot at night recently in our suburban neighborhood and it was so disturbing but I had no idea what to do. I’ve lived in urban setting, too, where you almost have ignore what’s happening outside.

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  9. I live in an apartment complex and see and hear my neighbors far less than I imagined I would. And certainly in no way like you describe. I think I must be blessed. Don’t envy you the intrusion but really like what you did with a difficult set of words. I could hear them (your neighbors), perhaps because I knew them in another life? It’s good to know that others had a difficult time with the words. I should know that by now, shouldn’t I?

    Elizabeth
    http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/an-observation/

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  10. Occasionally the adjoining house where we lived was rented out and several times such events occurred one lasting from 11pm until 5am when a taxi turned up and took one party away! The utter exhaustion felt the next day was indescribable. I am sorry you reminded me of this! However the written account was accurate and praiseworthy.

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    • My street is Avenue B, I don’t know which movie you mean. That’s funny, Walt. Thanks for your enthusiasm for my work, and you are right about the life in my neighborhood. We have some new colorful neighbors kitty corner out back. Can’t wait to see what they bring with them. So far precarious ladders into dead trees. Ha! I’m glad you write with us on Sundays.

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  11. Difficult words for me, too. Your poem is a sad commentary on marriage gone wrong. Alcohol only makes things worse.
    “Words that slur through the air to my window” is such a good line.

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    • In this case, a great deal of contention comes from the 20 something son. Oh my goodness, things get tense out there. And yes, alcohol definitely has a nefarious role. Thanks for your support, Marianne.

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