Poetry should take you places you couldn’t go otherwise, it should make the best kind of sense and it should SOUND good. That’s what I though when I started writing poetry in the 6th grade and I still think so now…
Before and After is a manuscript for which I received a substantial award from the Bronx Council on the Arts.
Here’s one of the poems from that collection:
Down in the dell where the raspberries sprawl
and the deerflies, looking like bomber planes, hang
around the tumbled boulders from former walls
that wait an eternity for the next big bang.
–In that dell was a big black rock, breathing.
Then the rock began to move,
Its mouth full of chewed fruit,
Its mossy back a thicket of fur,
Its muzzle licked tawny brown,
Its belly a loaded hammock, swinging.
It was a she, rearing up on her haunches
raising her man arms high
and spreading her fingers wide.
She owned every beat of that hushed moment.
And every beat of the world in that moment
was the bear — and you and me watching.
Into the architecture of constant happening,
above the hum of one trillion lights,
and seven thousand restaurants,
across a sky of up and down heights
–crane arms and towers crank into huge ABC’s.
Neglected names curl on underpass walls,
names of pretty products fill the nicer places.
Revolving glass and subways all chockablock,
and stink weed holding on in forgotten spaces.
–And that faraway bear, rising up to the tree…
It’s a way to make your mark building things,
a sort of graffiti to knock things down.
Buildings sway on their concrete stems,
Bearing the battered beehives of this modern town
— and the altered lives of you and me.
From the bus I am taking to meet you I see
someone – you! — emerging in a multitude of motions:
up out of a yellow taxi cab,
coat, bags, bills held out
dollars taken, a pen in your fingers- do you remember her?
Chiseling through a half inch of bark in a single go,
her black claws leaving four lines of signature
on a pine trunk next to those restless stones,
then reckoning us
— before shimmering off into the darkening glow.