Thursday, July 4, 2013

Down pour


Global warming blurs my vision
As I drive home from work,
Streets flooded so that tires swish
And with both hands tight
On the steering wheel
I make my way through the gray
Like a sailor seeking port,
Storms of life swaying me
This way and that,
And only my internal compass
To bring me to that place
Where I intended to go


They say the seasons
Have not changed
Rain, rain, then warm again,
The heart of the great cold north
Gone to trickles
Of what it once was,
Blizzards of four feet
When  I was a kid
Shrinking to four inches
People bitch about
Until a real blizzard
Comes and they are
Frozen into doing nothing.
Temperatures plummeting
Into the deep freeze
Of 40 degrees
As if the broken back
Of the sunshine state
Has crawled north,
leaving bits and pieces
And only memories
Of our grandfathers’ time
When a season
Was still a season,
And life predictable
As extinct
As the dinosaurs


Old ruins
Stacked against
The riverside fence
The vast vestige
Of an inglorious
Industrialized past
Three fires later
And immigrants
Have no place to go,
Block after block
Of level ground
On Sunday
They drive through
For the memories,
Old days
When a good job
Could still be
Found here,
The first illegal
Step into
The new world
Flowing away
With the long cold
Ashes each time
It rains


He told us
He feared she had
Poisoned his life
With words
And now,
No matter,
How he searched
The dictionary,
He could find
No antidote.
He said
She took his hand
On night
Pressing into his flesh
The vowels
Of his name
There for a world
To see and he
Unable to rub
Off the secrets
Revealed there,
Knowing that
Every rat and rodent
Knew all he felt
And only then
Did she float
Away like a leaf
Upon the river
He looks out over
Each day
From the bridge,
Rain or shine


A dry cold wind
Blows up the leaves,
Leaves long dead
And brown, full of
Haunted rustlings
And remembered days,
Old faces pressed
Against the grown
When the rains do come
Released only to freeze again
In some new sleep,
Shrouded over with
Each coming of snow,
The merciless city
Casting shadows over them
On every side.


First cold day of the year
Shivering leaves
Washing along the ground
With the wind
River water slapping
The side of the dock
And the bridge,
Last laugh before
Turning to ice,
Old men shuffling
Over the bridge
From the Clifton side
For their dose of coffee
And gossip
No more spring time
Only the furious voice
Whistling at the radiators
At home and
Thicker covers
On their beds
To keep out
The chill


The silence comes
On rainy days
When radios blare
Inside cars
With closed windows,
And Latin children’s
Faces stare out
Apartment windows
As if deprived
The swish of tires
Kicking up water
From the street,
While a few honk
Horns to push
The slow pokes
Out of the way,
Fast food clerks,
Bank clerks,
Insurance clerks,
Clerks, clerks
And more clerks
Made late by the late
Rain and the back up
On this bridge.


Yes or nod
The cold wind
Blows with December rain
It should be snow
The bridge crossed
Hour ago
Should have been
Covered with ice,
And George Washington
Spouting a beard
Where he supposedly
Crossed up stream,
The team of traffic rising
Up above the cables
And lights
Beyond him,
The deep black Hudson
With its twinkling gaze
But no slow,
Just traffic jams
On both sides
And rain
And squeal of tires
As I sit here,
Staring back
In the rear view mirror
Making my own retreat.


Rain splattered driveway
Draws mud like blood
The old separation
Still evident
A line where
The asphalt stops
Old owner, Stella,
With never enough
Spare cash to finish it
End to end,
Patching the patch
With squares of concrete
She and Chet
(now dead all these long years)
Leaving only this quilt
Of stone and mud
And incomplete puzzle
Which I still struggle
To make sense of

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