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(DV) Engel: Sum







by Adam Engel
July 22, 2005

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"Ah hah! Pronoun trouble."

-- Daffy Duck


Her father and uncles;
later, her brothers, cousins, husband;
later still, her sons and grandsons
spilled blood overseas
(Others' and their own),  to defend Our Way of Life.

Of course She had assumed
Hers was "our" way the
shops, houses, gardens,
luncheonettes; Spring parties,
Summer picnics, Holliday parades --
Her town was Our town was Our
Way of Life.

When finally
Our Way of Life dropped dead,
decades-old decrepit shops
and "Mom & Pop" eateries
were crushed, flattened,  kaput.
A Super Mall humming with chain stores,  and a Factory to manufacture
will sprout like bean-stalks
from the ruins;
the block where She was born
and raised, and raised Her kids,
shall too be razed,
the lot black-topped and lined,
a carpet for cars
of the newly employed.
Oh Brave New World of
jobs, growth, Free Parking
and discount meds!

She told the reporter:

"The Courts say we're to receive 'just compensation'
for our home.  I'm eighty-two-years-old, yet
I knew nothing of life's worth until I saw the market value
of the only home I'd ever known. The sum. Not a
billion dollars, not a million dollars, not anything close.
I had imagined...well, what's a lifetime worth? The Developer,
the one whose firm owns City Hall -- I'm not stupid -- said,
and he plays hardball, I respect that, he said 'It's not like
you're twenty and we're speculating on your future. This is
compensation for lives lived. We're actually paying you for
time you and your hubby already pissed away.  A used house
and two used lives.  That considered, this is a very reasonable

You see, She'd been confused all those years
listening and watching:

radio, film, tabloid, television
Celebrity News Advertise Celebrity
Heartbreak Marriage News Indictment
Freedom Ingenue Super-Star be Free

When They sent away
Her boys
from Her neighborhood
She'd assumed it was
'Our way of life'
Her boys were killing
and dying for,
when all along it had been THEIRS.
Their ways, Their lives
Their Eminence and Their Domain.
A life such as Hers, or Her husband's,
or Her son's or daughter's or
is but a "paltry thing,"
a dirty napkin
on the scale
beside Their gold.

Adam Engel lives at He can also be reached at: You can order a copy or two of Left Out for a discounted rate at:

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