Foreclosures (Full-length Poetry Manuscript with Images)
While performing interior inspections of vacant houses for my day job using an app on my iPhone, most of which were located in rural Carroll, Frederick, and Howard Counties in Maryland, I took pictures off-app, knowing I'd one day sit down to write what I saw: heart-rending stories evident in the personal items left behind by the former occupants--often families, but sometimes individuals--who were evicted by the banks after they'd lost their house to foreclosure.
The eerie silence and tableau-like array of clothing, children's toys, sometimes calcified food in bowls left behind on the countertops, lent a discomforting voyeuristic feeling of encroachment into someone else's financial disaster. It was as if I were witnessing the frozen last moments of someone else's nightmare. I frequently reminded myself that there but for the grace of God went I and, indeed, any of us.
Indeed, many people are still trying to recover from this dark chapter in American history, especially in rural areas. Americans are still being dragged under, or teetering on the edge of ruin from the housing and financial collapse, and near-depression of late 2008 to early 2009.
My intent with these photos and poems is to bring to light, publicize, and humanize an American tragedy that continues to fester across most regions of our nation; however, where it has affected more remote parts of the rural countryside, it has often been hidden away from the consciousness of the general public.