Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Far Rockaway"

[Hope you enjoy this fine poem by B.N.]

Far Rockaway

Today even the name makes me drowsy
As the bus ride and ocean air.
Some trick of change, bit of silver shining.
Each time she rode the bus she tried to cheat
The driver out of a dime. And even he

Felt a loss when the used Kleenex fell from
Her purse like angels with wings stained
Claret red. It wasn't so much the money,
Busses were the synagogues then and we
God's emissaries.

When I think of it, summer is like a short guttural
In a dying language and I, half listening, catch a phrase or two
If she doesn't get up and find a husband soon, the birds will
build a nest in her snatch.

Journeys are a succession of rented summer bungalows
And winter apartments, they always belong to someone else.
These dwellings we give back graciously, the floors swept clean
These that are offered generously only in retrospect
And only once did we make it as far as the sea.

We wore scarves in the sun, greeted by multi-colored umbrellas
Set out into a loud fabric—an embroidered tapestry

Where the birds nest, the silver water changes,
The smug dime rests, behind the
folded wings of tissue angels.

© to the author 1983-2010


  1. This is wonderful, John. When I read poetry like this, I want to hang my head in shame!

  2. Wonderful poem. Very evocative : the words act like coat-hangers onto which we can hang our own memories and experiences. And that is what poetry should be like.

  3. Hi Karen & Alan

    Karen: So glad you liked it! But no head hanging in poetry please!

    Alan: Yes, I agree--this is simply an exquisite poem.

  4. B.N's poems always reach right inside my chest and wrap themselves around my heart. Wow.

    LOVE you singing the blues and I really love the cigar box banjo - or guitar? - it sounds like a hybrid of the two.

    Happy Tuesday!

  5. What a treat. I especially like "Busses were the synagogues then and we God's emissaries". Another fine piece.

  6. Hi Reya & Willow

    Reya: Thanks--glad you liked the poem! The cigar box guitar is kind of its own thing, isn't it? The resonator tends to give it a bit of twang, & I think the webcam mic (for better or worse) accentuates this. Plus I think I was playing it in a kind of banjo-like way on this tune. Glad you liked it.

    Willow: Thanks! B.N.'s poetry is so good.

  7. Dang! Willow beat me on tha' one! I like the depth of this one :)

  8. The tissue angels image is a powerful one; I like when a writer can find a kind of lasting grace in things that people just toss out and don't think twice about.

  9. Hi HKatz: That is a wonderful moment! Thanks for stopping by, & glad you liked this poem.


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