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100 Thousand Ants
all so busy on your hill
you move though out the city
never holding still

Dear 100 Thousand Ants
an embarrassment for all
your dirty, needy, shameful
there behind our shopping malls

the Ant it does what you will not
it gathers for its house
it carries away your discards
picks through and sorts it out

Dear Indian little Anties
taking care of global waste
30 thousand tons of old twin towers
all asbestos laced

efficient little Ants
your organized complexity
the weighing out of garbage
is a precise economy

Ant communities and livelihoods
Ant families, children, schools
but Big Business sees a money maker
and it can’t stand to lose

look at the little Anties
with their matching vests and chants
they gave themselves a name
made composting plans

They sort out your recycling
make clean earth for your neighborhood
but the municipality tells us
what their doing is no good

Dear Bangladeshi Anties
with your dirty muslim ways
go live inside our trash
which is the cities, by the way

make your illegal living
for as long as we’ll allow
some day we’ll come and pack you up
and ship you out of town

we’ll formalize your process
with our mechanized new ways
our public private partnerships
see trash as money these days

A new environmental mission
it’s good for all, you see
this new fangled incinerator
earns Carbon Credit for Delhi


“Cities in the 21st Century”

The next four months will be spent in cities, learning about cities, exploring, wandering, eating, sleeping, breathing, teaching, learning, and existing in and through cities.  A daunting idea for a country mouse.

As the faculty fellow for this study abroad program I’m something of a TA for three courses: Urban Planning & Sustainable Environments, Politics and Development, and Culture and Society. This means I’m in class with my students everyday.  I get to take class!  Everyday!  And not have homework!  Exclamations! (!!)  (!!!)

The plan was to write an eloquent synthesis of what I’ve learned about New York in these two weeks but I have no clean underwear and breakfast meeting – so you, dear readers (and by that I mean: Hi Dad!) will have to wait.

In its place here is Radiolab’s hour-long episode on Cities, with a focus on NY. Some things are better left to the professionals.

To come:  “Transportation Justice” – Never thought of it until I did. Now I can’t stop.

Delhi on Friday.


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