Archive for the ‘Poetry’ category

New York, New York

October 28, 2006

A second New York is being built
a little west of the old one.
Why another, no one asks,
just build it, and they do.

The city is still closed off
to all but the work crews
who claim it’s a perfect mirrror image.

Truthfully, each man works on the replica
of the apartment building he lives in,
adding new touches,
like cologne dispensers, rock gardens,
and doorknobs marked for the grand hotels.

Improvements here and there, done secretly
and off the books. None of the supervisors
notice or mind. Everyone’s in a wonderful mood,
joking, taking walks through the still streets
that the single reporter allowed inside has described as

“unleavened with reminders of the old city’s complicated past,
but giving off some blue perfume from the early years on earth.”

The men grow to love the peaceful town.
It becomes more difficult to return home at night,

which sets the wives to worrying.
The yellow soups are cold, the sunsets quick.

The men take long breaks on the fire escapes,
waving across the quiet spaces to other workers
meditating on their perches.

Until one day…
The sky fills with charred clouds.
Toolbelts rattle in the rising wind.

Something is wrong.

A fireman stands in the avenue
pointing binoculars at a massive gray mark
moving towards us in the eastern sky.

Several voices, What, What is it?

Pigeons, he yells through the wind.

David Berman, via Jess


Love and Courage

October 21, 2006

Love and Courage

the one I liked was where Cagney
fought in the ring
got punchy
so he could earn money
to give his brother
music lessons-
the brother wanted to be a
classical pianist
was said to have
great talent
but they both came from the Lower
East Side, and
so Cagney got into the ring
again and again
for money to help the talented brother
become a classical pianist.
Cagney even loses the girl-
to his brother
and it ends with his brother
making it
(at Carnegie Hall, if I remember)
and Cagney
punched-out and blind
at his newsstand
listening to the radio
to his brother in the concert
and, of course, the girl is at the
adoring, wild-eyed
as Cagney warms his hands over a
small fire
alone in the cold
he listens to the radio
as his brother plays
the piano,
not knowing shit about music
hearing the final applause
believes that
all the beatings he has taken
were worthwhile.

– Charles Bukowski