Other Voices February Poets
February 2016– Will feature here for the next few weeks works of fellow poets that I admire & have had the good fortune and vibrant experience to befriend & read with in the past years-
LIVING IN SILENCE
I live in silence,
make my bed with your thoughts.
My tongue is numb,
unable to speak your name.
The color of your eyes,
the texture of your hair,
the touch of your hands,
the whisper of your words
must be kept secret.
You’re my guardian,
teacher, friend, lover—
you’re also my prisoner,
the one who gave
back my life.
You’ve left this physical plane,
but my free will brought you back.
Only the caverns of imagination
and the stillness of moonlight
can understand and protect
what became sacred.
I am the “x,”
you are the “y,”
but no formula can prove
what we’re experiencing.
Only when I die,
this silence will shatter
the temporal world
and love will occupy the universe.
I Remember Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (for Mom and Goodie)
I remember sitting on Mom’s lap during WW II blackouts.
She said no one should light a match.
I remember when President Roosevelt died. Mom said I cried but I don’t remember. But I do remember I cried when Dumbo was separated from his mother.
Rowdy marches to Gravesend Bay the day Germany surrendered to throw the German flag into the bay.
Mom holding my hand in PS 101 schoolyard first day of kindergarten.
Letting go of my hand.
Goodie broadjumping, leaping, speeding around chalked bases on the gutter.
I Declare War, Three Feet Off To Germany, Red Light-Green Light, May I, Ringalevio, Iron Tag, Kick the Can, Hide ‘n Seek.
Monopoly, Parcheesi, Casino, Go Fish, Gin Rummy, erector sets, log cabin sets, Yankee Trader (the first time I heard the word jute), wind-up trains, secret code rings, stamp collections, parakeets, guppies, wandering roof cats.
Marbles, knife games in dirt, spaldeens, hit the penny, box ball, curve ball, stoop ball, punch ball, stick ball, flipping baseball cards.
The Beavers, 14 boys, the meetings in Mendy’s attic or Carl Guarilla’s basement on Sunday morning.
Beating of the gavel to begin the meeting.
Beavers’ call to arms, the crow call – caw caw – all the boys would appear out of nowhere.
Povo hitting a spaldeen over two sewers without touching the trees (so many trees).
Povo making a one-handed catch and my Dad reprimanding him for showboating.
Old ladies on stoops and folding chairs, knitting, listening, watching, schmoozing, kvetching.
Dominic Bazille punching me in the arm for a nickel.
Harold Mosner wrestling him to the ground.
Johnny and Bobby Wagner’s mother died of yellow jaundice (or was it yellow fever?)
Mendy’s father a Seabee killed on an island in the Pacific.
Mendy’s mother, Lillie offered to teach me to play the piano let me practice on her baby grande.
Tommy Pitera rumoured to have had rheumatic fever as an infant. I remember him once spitting blood rounding second base.
Billy Morehouse swinging a cat by the tail.
Mr. Shapiro chasing us boys with his cane we made too much noise.
Planting weeds in Mendy’s backyard thinking I was a farmer.
Watching Milton Berle, Candid Camera, Gorgeous George, Antonino Rocca on Harold Mosner’s TV set, the only TV set on the block.
Junior Mangene, new guy on the block, pitching hardballs to Junior Wagner, only
guy who could catch them. Zip. Zip. Everybody watched.
First time I saw sausage and beer in Junior Mangene’s refrigerator.
2nd grade visit to firehouse on 86th Street touching the red fire engine.
The black hills, Benson Avenue, Cropsey Avenue, Bath Avenue, the lots on 21st Avenue, Gravesend Bay.
Pier at Nelly Bly seaplanes that landed there after WW II.
Stinky Creek West End train crossed between Bay 50th Street Station and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island.
Coney Island, Washington Baths, Raven Hall Baths, penny arcade, mechanical lady fortune teller, Skeeball, postcards of ladies in lingerie (were they photos or drawings?), Tornado, Thunderbolt, Cyclone, Wonder Wheel, electric horse race around Steeplechase, clowns who chased women with cattle prods, wind shaft that blew their dresses over their thighs, billowing parachutes falling softly on summer nights.
Charlotte Russe, bagels and lox, salami, bologna, pickle barrels, chop suey, shrimp chow mein, egg foo young, egg drop soup.
Borscht and schav but never ate them.
Hunks of cheese at grocery on Bath Avenue and Bay 34th Street.
Milkman, iceman, seltzer man, Good Humour man, knife sharpening man, glass man, rag man who would call out I buy old clothes.
Bernie the barber, Jack the barber, Dr. Ingis visited us with his black bag when we were sick, smoked a cigar and listened to our heart beat.
Blur of sleds zooming down the hills of 20th Avenue, igloo we built after the Great Blizzard of 1947, game King of the Mountain on giant mounds of snow.
The big tree in Goodie’s backyard, the swing, calling to him from alley outside his kitchen Hey Allie talking for hours.
His older sisters, Muriel and Linda, other big girls down the block, Roberta and Doreen.
Doreen’s mother slapping a boy in the face in the middle of the block.
Sarah Weiss, eight year old blonde Lithuanian immigrant, floating down the street. We all stared. No one approached her.
June 6, 2007
Four Post Cards from NY
The Lower East Side is grand
There was a guy on a bench
With his arse and balls hanging out
It was an anatomical cacophony
I have to step over rivulets
Of piss and puke
But not every morning
It’s just like home
You would love it
We walk here
Under the shadow of a rose
Blue skies and no clouds
We look up unlike the locals
Who only wonder why
We hinder their progress
By keeping left
Near the north end of Lafayette
Just up by Lt. Petrosino Square
Stands a raggedy man most days
Unless it rains
With a golf club in his hand
He lines up mini milk cartons
And attempts to chip them
From full on fifty feet
Into litter bins
Some locals sit on benches
Ignoring the innocent projectiles
as they pop.
The bar on Avenue B looked suitably dirty
It was dark and the windows gave no hint
As to what went on inside
I needed someplace quiet
To finish the thoughts I had been carrying
There should have been sawdust on the floor
Like the Yates’s of years ago
A few bearded men sat at the bar
Nibbling on their nuts
It was a trick they’d learnt early
I ordered a stout and watched the menu
And looked at the t.v. screen
Two ultimate fighters got bloody on the canvas
It was obscene
The pizzas were dairy free
And the gravy was vegan
They have landed
A few punches
A righteous hook
Here and there
The cheezeless amongst us
December 29, 2015
Late night East village.
Rain glistens off sidewalk
like shattered glass.
Crazy lookin’ couple roamin’ the streets:
Long leg beauty in full length leather
takin’ long strides in black cowboy boots
blonde hair blowin’ wild, open coat , denim mini skirt,
and Ramones’ T-shirt pushin’ out hard nipples,
draggin’ along some BoHo old hipster
sportin’ a black porkpie hat, and black high-tops,
lookin’ for all the world like some sexy ‘60s
“truckin’” cartoon couple.
Coyotes stalking First Avenue
hungry for the taste of pre-gentrification.
Looking to bite off and chew up
the last remaining conversations
on music, poetry, love and art
lingering in dive bars still open
to Poets, Rockers, Artists, and crazies.
A broken wing angel
and a poet out of rhyme,
“Jukin” the East Village Dive bars:
Drink a little, dance a little,
Make out at the bar,
not carin’ who’s lookin’,
feelin’ the music
feelin’ the love.
Hit the street,
on the prowl again,
hungry for the next joint.
They keep rollin’ on,
bar after bar
‘til there ain’t no more, left;
drinkin’ too much,
laughin’ too loud
groping under street lights,
refusing to submit to daylight
They’re dancin’ on razor blades,
taste freedom in the blood.
Their time is passin’ fast
and there’ll be nowhere left to go
for Poets, Rockers, Artists, and crazies.
Fuck burning candles at both ends,
douse ‘em in gasoline,
turn up the music,
drink, smoke, laugh, love.
Let the flames be your final sunset
‘cause we got nothin’ left to lose.
six years later rain
*May 5 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte dies in a farmhouse outside Jamestown, on the tiny South Atlantic island of Saint Helena
they talk about
as if it is their
dropping by for
on a lazy
not the apparition
who stares at nothing
if it ever existed