|Back to the Neighborhood
Dream-fancies, every one: faces
still unlined, jasmine-scented
alleys, brick walls jut at odd
pigeons morph to brightly
beaked birds of paradise
fluttering like prayer missal
holy cards; no one can tell me
where my street has gone.
Senses Out of Time
We are but of yesterday
The Book of Job 8:9
No moment of what was lingers in
true touch-oh, you may note sudden
phantom fragrances of sourceless scent,
cloying floral laden air, cloves, cotton
candy, cigarette smoke; the phone
that isn't really ringing; sudden motion
of unmoving matter just beyond
sight; the nothing brushing the back
of your neck, ruffling your hair; an ashy
taste in your mouth; your dead father's
step on the stair, his bald head above
a crowd; caress of your aunt-blessed,
handsewn chiffon, first grownup dress-
the past, taunting you over and over.
Pulling Up Stakes
We've been here since August '41,
thirty-four dollars a month we paid.
It was really something in them days.
Pots full of flowers all the way up
the front stoop, and Irish lace curtains
on the door and hall windows. Joe Quinn,
the old super, kept everything shined.
No closets full of roaches. No slobs
throwing garbage out windows-diapers,
mattresses. The alley's a stinkhole.
The missus has been on my case for years
to move across Broadway. We came here
right after our wedding. Forty years.
Forty years. Best place I ever lived.