The Prompt: Reviving Bricks—You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?
The Brick Throwers
They were five in a chain from truck to rooftop,
each throwing the piles of adobe bricks
in stacks of four, from hand to hand
up from the bottom of the truckload
now nearly emptied.
Two of them waved me on
when I tried to park near,
my trunk full of heavy wall sculptures
to deliver to a gallery just half a block away.
And when I tried to park farther along the block,
again and again, they waved me away
until I was a block away and safe, I guess,
from straying bricks or errant cars that swerved
too far to the right to avoid the bricks or truck that held them.
They were a cheerful lot, and when I passed,
walking towards the gallery
carrying one sculpture after another,
they waved, and on my final trip back to the car,
again, the man second in the chain
who stood balanced on the highest level of the brick pyramid
that remained within the truckbed,
seemed to intuit my purpose, waving from me to them
as I drew my camera from my purse.
They all posed for minutes, miming their labor
as I tried to get them to actually throw, as before,
those piles of bricks, hoping to catch them
flying through the air between two pairs of hands.
Finally understanding, they threw and threw,
asking me for a prompt to help me catch that flight
I feared I’d never catch.
Minutes later, I turned to leave
and they, cheering and smiling in their fame,
turned back to that labor which is an art in Mexico:
giving bricks wings before mortaring them
into a permanency that holds them rigid for lifetimes
until they crumble back into that soil that was their nativity.
This poem should be a metaphor for something
and probably is.
Some future day, when I am moldering in my grave
like some lesser Ozymandius,
some graduate student or scholar of mediocre
Twenty-First-Century poetry might publish a treatise
And they will dig this website from the rubble
of the Internet and find
I wrote it as a daily prompt
and if such records still exist,
find how I hired those men to build a monument
from that crumbling manse of brick
that was my prompt on the Daily Post
and tell how they spent their lifetimes restoring it
and how their children and their children’s children
have benefited from catcalls
and instructions to move on down the line
and the clicking of a camera lens
and from one who follows blindly
where each prompt leads her.