The White Vans

The white vans driving out of the city,
Out to tall, beige crematorial kilns,
They have your life and hope in green boxes.
Tomorrow you may be smoke in the air.

You have seen the white vans in the city,
Parked on side streets and under bridges.
You have seen them driving through alleys,
Graffiti vanishing from brick as they pass.

The white vans move slowly in the city,
Circling apartment blocks and ragged green parks.
They idle in front of cafes and storefronts
By empty meters for hours every day.

In the city broken glass is swept up quickly,
No cardboard blankets the pristine sidewalks.
Listen: that sound is side doors opening
In white vans. The white vans. The white vans.

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.
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2 Responses to The White Vans

  1. Judy Gaudet says:

    Hi John, I noticed the white vans a couple of years ago, and they also made it into a poem, though with a (somewhat) different story. I like yours.

    White Vans

    are following me everywhere once I notice them,
    coming out of every on-ramp, passing on the divided
    highway, beside me in the parking lot, 8 of them
    on one block, but I’m not paranoid, or not enough
    to believe, or really believe, they’re part of a conspiracy
    keeping track on a system of cellphones with a large
    central office, with a map and pins and string, not really.

    We’re travelling quite a long distance, landscapes
    on a larger scale than our Island ones, cities on hills
    which we climb up and down on, tangled in the street plan,
    caught up in dead ends, dragging through old
    buildings needing some TLC, and past new buildings
    towering up to replace them, then finally getting to our
    car and across the toll bridge and finding the doctor’s office.

    He’s positive about the situation, just burning slowly away
    like a banked fire that’s not moving too quick, and Velcro
    might solve the effects if they get too troublesome. We
    like him, and are grateful, then get in our car, more roads,
    more roads, more roads, and at last the ferry, where the workers
    are having coffee, saying, Did you see this one of her sitting
    at the table and the other No, I missed that one dear, and we’re home.


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