Archive for October, 2015

Sunset Park

It took me years
To start dreaming in dollars
Which I do, at six forty-five,
As the clock radio goes off

Announcing that the Dow is up
So I get up as well
And ride my bike to Sunset Park,
Past Green-Wood Cemetery

Where, last week, our landlord buried
His old brother, a man I’ve never met
But who used to live in this house,
A life as real to me as fiction.

The October sun penetrating
Feather-shaped leaves of oak trees
Makes it look like early spring
Which, in a way, it is.

Young people sing of broken hearts
Later, you marvel at the generosity
You since birth have carried
In the vaults of your chest.

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Pocket Doors

In New York, you can’t get to the water
But the water can get to you,
I say to someone at the opening of an art exhibition
Of paintings by Vilhelm Hammershøi
Who painted with light and shades of white,
Leaving the water to the imagination
And then was forgotten for a lifetime.
I stroll with my wife through Murray Hill,
Sharing a plate of Indian food among the cab drivers.
At Gramercy Park, a man in a blue suit gives us
An impromptu tour of Governor Tilden’s mansion,
The dark wood, tall ceilings, the old bricks visible

Inside the mahogany pocket doors and I point
To a framed drawing among hundreds of portraits,
Saying, “Isn’t that Itzhak Perlman?”
“Could be,” he shrugs, turning to assist a young
Intoxicated Russian lady in the doorway.
At home, I look at old photographs, flickers of light
In pieces of glass from the shattered window of childhood.
It’s October, these mornings are clear, and with my eyes closed
I can hear my mother’s radio in her kitchen –
All the stories about the Middle East,
The burning of books and violins
That they somehow still insist on calling The News.

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