Richard’s Gully
By David L. Pulling
December 1994

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In the beginning
nature created a slough, a natural morass;
but men with shovels and draglines enlarged upon the idea,
as men do with nature’s ideas,
likely because they wanted to get rid of rain water they didn’t want in their houses,
regrettably not because some aesthetic soul saw a picture of Grand Canyon
and thought a scaled-down mud model would accentuate the flat Cajun prairie;
so they gouged a channel
deep and jagged and ragged
and piled the black excavated silt high to make a levee
shored up with dump-truck chunks of busted concrete and asphalt
left over from unwanted parking lots,
and man said, “Let there be Richard’s Gully.”
And man saw that it was good.
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Thus Richard’s Gully was finished
as the earth was gashed and slashed and piled high
in the interest of improving man’s life on it,
and the job’s been touched up upon ever so often
with more shovels and draglines and industrial-strength herbicide
since nature has an annoying tendency to undo man-made modifications,
as any woman who has touched up gray streaks in her hair will swear with vehemence,
but men and women do these things to alter creation
because they are subduing the earth.

gulley-south.jpgToday Richard’s Gully is sprouting chicken trees and willow wisps
slithering through crevices
in scum-encrusted heaps
of busted concrete and busted asphalt,
and sprouting colorful crops with genus species nomenclatures
like Miller Lite and Pepsi Free and Diet Coke
rising out of sludge-lined banks
like shiny seedlings
in a metallica garden
in a fetid ecosystem
where stagnant, larvae-infested pools
laced with sewery strains
of dish water and urine and decomposed armadillo flesh
nurture festering, feathery tendrils
of green pickled slime
floating in the murky shallows
of a nauseatic sea
teeming with base putrefaction.

Richard’s Gully is a man-made morass,
the polluted brain child of industrious citizens,
and a moldy monument to man’s condition.
No one lingers long
on the shores of Richard’s Gully.

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