Zelda's Inferno exercise: do kids still go to the park?

Posted on: Sun, 05/15/2011 - 19:47 By: Tom Swiss

Zelda's Inferno exercise: free-write on one or more of the following random phrases, from the Urbanite and Baltimore Guide:

people don't go to the park now
it's like organizing butterflies
on the local front
something that will have a lasting impact
miniature golf course
a great deal of charm
two rainouts a week
free admission
dressed up nice
sleepwalks into their bed

I adapted the first phrase a bit and went with that.

do kids still go to the park?
i remember a summer
(maybe it was two)
when dad played softball in the evenings
on the diamond at Rosedale Park
while my brother and I would run around and play
trying to walk up the big sliding board that went down the side of the hill
climbing the pole to ring the bell at the top
swinging on the money bars in the twilight
spinning the carousel
we'd go back watch the grown-ups play for a bit and
then run off again
idyllic suburban July nights
after the game dad would usually buy us snowballs at the stand
     in the park's parking lot

the park was full of kids --
white suburban kids, mostly two or three or four generations from
      Polish and Irish and German and Italian immigrants
whose grandparents or great- or great-great lived in East Baltimore
and parents had moved just outside to the suburbs

and I never thought twice of this
until one evening a whole group
like a field trip
black kids with a handful of adults from the city
they walked around like visitors to another world, like tourists
in the big open green space
marveling at a jungle gym over grass, not over concrete

first intimation that mine was not the only world