In the age-old struggle of man to defy

The elements, it was Michael and I

Two old men with a bar and a sledge

A mason’s chisel that we used to wedge

Board from board of a backyard deck

A block away from the water’s edge


The planks had buckled when the ocean rose up hard

Heading north to where the houses are.

And kept on coming till it filled the yard.

So it had to go, piece by piece.

Hauled out to the street in pieces.

Posts and headers and joists and plates

Four by fours and two by eights.


But something there is that doesn’t love a mall

And it was Black Friday after all

Instead of shopping

Instead of buying

We went chopping

We went prying.

Wreaking our own kind of violent commotion

As if taking revenge on the ocean.


The guy next door came out to smoke.

His yard had trees that now were stumps

And trash that lay in heaps and clumps.

“Careful of those granite tiles.

I’m saving them to use again.”

We asked how high the water had been

And he held his hand up to his chin.


There’s a certain irony

The fight to conquer entropy

Must lose, by definition.

But even so, with bar and sledge

We wage it at the ocean’s edge:

It starts with demolition.