I can tell because they spill out from the chain hotel
and stare at my empty storefronts.
Scattered scooters knocked over on sidewalks decorating
my urban decay.
—the convention and visitors bureau is even more confused—
Like an alcoholic, I exaggerate with grandiosity
and defiance, repeating myself about urban emptiness.
Old-timers no longer lecture the new residents. Even
the giddiest of community boosters have quit salvaging
the scooters and scooping up trash, now that the
convention and visitors bureau sells my neighborhood
to meeting planners who prefer their banquet rooms
cheap and their reward points easy.
—you don’t need a scooter to go from the hotel bar
to the board meeting upstairs—
After 30 years in this town, do I continue to tell its story
through my own story? Do I wait for the 12th revitalization?
—or as Cavafy warned—
If I move to another town, will the dead scooters ever rise
from the sidewalk?
As a working scribe, Gary Singh has published over 1100 works including newspaper columns, travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, poetry and short fiction. He is the author of The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy (2015, The History Press) and was recently a Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at San Jose State University.