Written Submission by Holly Lock

Below is a poem sent to us by Ryerson University English student Holly Lock. “Manufacturing the Waterfront” reads as a silent protest; an observation of the natural vs. the artificial.  Make sure to give it a read below:

—-

Manufacturing the Waterfront

On the thin lip of the horizon
there lies insurmountable blue
the guttering brush-strokes of teal-grey
that make up the lake
continue fluttering, making the horizon
an optical illusion

In the distance, there lies
the thin wisps of decaying trees,
brutalized by the chill of the winter,
that sparse along the lips of the water–
adorning like whiskers.

And upon this land I notice
the mechanical arms of insidious dinosaurs
lumbering along the waterfront
placing and displacing lumps of stones,
acquiring a towering pile,
a monument to mankind’s great conquest.

I’ve heard in the past of men
centuries before my birth
transfiguring the glorious face of Nature
making it more or less symmetrical,
pleasing the desires of its human onlookers
so that tourists, mounted with maps
can examine its glorious face and utter
nothing, rendered speechless.

I suppose that this process of manufacturing the waterfront
despite being unnatural
is far more natural than I
considering that I am the product of
packaged foods, cosmetics, decades of failed
parenting strategies, hallucinogens
capitalism, and it’s all been happening far longer than I
have been writing its critique–
indeed, who am I
to speak of Nature?

And so one day I’ll depart for the waterfront
with my children, and I will utter
nothing, unable to rebuke a tradition
closer to nature than I’ve ever been.

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