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CK Baker Apr 2017
Sunday sermons are spilling on the inner city streets
through the green heaps and brown bags
through the downtown whisperers
and sage solitude souls

Army bands prepare for march
(their trench members filling packs with canister and cane)
the high command and tricked militia head pinned
quick on the look for splinter, lorry and skuttle

Traffic patterns change at the COP connect
camouflage bearers break formal stride
battle men slip between colorful floats
unsuspecting slumlords (vein pricked and weary)
grin in their second suite dying rooms

Twitching men and rubbernecks
sit discreetly on the corner wall
JJ and the chief revere a 21 gun salute
holy rollers raise cheer (in a moment of silence)
chess men hold steady
with ivory cues

Flames belt from the distant foundry
streets come alive with crackle and dust
members of the attic group glance down from their perch
an elderly man in a straight jacket (happy in the now)
sits solemnly with a cold reflective stare

It’s not far from the steely mud holes
from the flying fragments and sharp broken dreams
from the arsenal digs and madmen (who quietly turned the *****)
the ivy trellis
and flowing white gown
are a nocturne fit
for this elevated rolling highland
Steam rises from the blocks of industry
beyond the immediate trees;
a thin white veil
cloaking the city like a bedsheet.
And you waking, displacing
your head about apathetically
trying to light a smoke
with sunlight -

this linear love on a tangent,
golden, some ornament.

Everything up then falling
each morning, with light
tethered to the ceiling
while you lay still
dazed from dreaming,
the day breaks unassuming.
T'was the night before Christmas, And at the back of the bar

Sat a man all alone, Lighting up a cigar

The waitress ran over and waving her hand

You can't do that here, Smoking is banned.

If you must smoke that thing, you can go to the street

And stay away from the building, by at least fifty feet

The man took a puff and with a voice like a croak

He said, "You're kidding, right miss? You're making a joke"

I'm sorry, but sir..I'm afraid that it's true

But the law is the law, and it's not only for you

That we must say **** out, please extinguish your smoke

So our place can be filled with other fine folk

For ninety two years I have walked on this earth,

I have broken no laws and you know what it's worth?

Bupkiss, no nada it's not worth a thing

Would that law still apply if I was a King?

I've been coming in here for 60 odd years

And I think I've consumed a truckload of beers

I've smoked in this corner on many a night

Now you say **** out, I don't think that's right.

I fought for this country at the end of the war

I came home with a war wound, and you know dear...what's more

I came to this bar to have drinks with my friends

Who all weren't so lucky and met terrible ends

They died on the beach, heart as big as a house

Taking on the unknown for their country, their spouse

They battled for honor, the right to be free

And they all weren't as lucky, to come home like me.

I was here in the sixities when Camelot died

I was here with my son, and we both sat and cried

It was that night in November, I remember it well

That my son said he'd joined up and was heading to hell

He had joined the marines and was all set to fight

For freedom and honor and he knew it was right

Because I'd gone before and stood with others like him

And I said just be safe, and come home son...my Jim

In the years he was gone, I came down here to think

Of why he was there and I shared smokes and drinks

With friends, all now gone from this world of distrust

Now they all lie beneath us, decomposed back to dust.

My son made it back and we came right down here

To spend time with our friends, both from far and from near.

The years passed us by and my grandson joined too

And we sat and we prayed in this bar, for we knew

He was fighting for freedom and the rights we hold dear

Like having some fun, over smokes and some beer.

He never came home from his war, don't you see

That's why we're sitting alone here, just you and me

Tonight is the night that his letter arrived

Saying "We regret to inform you...that no one survived"

So, each Christmas Eve I come back to this bar

To savor my memories and to drink from this jar

And I finish each year thinking of what now is gone,

Of my battle scarred boy and his now deceased son

Now, you come and tell me that I must go outside

To continue my smoking and so I'll abide

'cause for 92 years that I've been on this earth

I've broken no laws and you know what that's worth

Then the waitress reached back and she pulled out a match

From a box on the bar with a rusty old catch

She said Sir, I am sorry I didn't mean to offend

For this one night each year, the law I can bend

So please light one for me on this Christmas Eve Night

And Thank you from all who continue the fight.

Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019
A Christmas Eve Poem that was posted earlier, I have not added much, but, I think it is fitting to read so those of you who haven't seen my older works, and The Street Poems, may get a chance.
Jordan Rowan Jan 2016
I don't have anywhere to be
I don't have anyone to see
Maybe if I walked into the street
Somebody would silence me
Just hold the violence, please
I've already killed the leaves
Watched them crash into my knees
Since I can't drown in the sea
I'll die in the street
Kathleen Oct 2010
rescinding messages of longing and lust
cast off to the wind like a broken record
skittering, twisting down the street in early morn'
your laying to rest your tired conscience on me
like one of those lovers in a movie theater
brushed off like salt on a shoulder
twirled like a young girls hair mid flirtation giggle
i think we're dancing in the streets now
scuffing shoes against concrete
mind-melding as we soft shoe across the yellow lines
i'm kicking you to the curb
like a rock into a gutter
your blowing through me like a chilled breeze
shuffling past me hurriedly to another time
like a scarf mid swing o're a cold shoulder
i turn 'round swiftly to meet you
dizzily.
creative commons
King Panda Jul 2017
a parhelion forms with
the sun’s peaking out,
irradiating your eye
in crown.

there is a sanguine wonder
to your cigarette as
you drag your lungs
across the floor.

citrine is your smoke
crawling across
the bed.

light moves.

a nanosecond passes by.
Kevin J Taylor Sep 2015
Street ****** **** ****** ****
Underfuckingpaid, right? Right.
Gonna change the world!
.
We are political beings, all.
Kevin J Taylor Nov 2017
main street underworld
belts hung with halos of souls
they say they've stolen
t-shirts taunting— PROPERTY OF HIM
.
Not all poems survive. I've lost a few and let others go. My current collection of poems is available on Kindle. It is called "3201 e's" (that is approximately how many e's are in the manuscript which is a very unpoetic title but a reflection on the creation of poetry by common means.)
#17
Spenser Bennett Feb 2016
Every heartbeat is an endless defeat
A ribcage jukebox stuck on repeat
Slow on sleep and heavy in high heat
Fever pleads to end the beat
Suffer a sudden death alone in the street
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2013
The poem was inspired by a particular photo of the WT C, and after that by my first visit to the 9/11 Memorial.  On the day of 9/11, I was working about a diagonal mile away, and from our windows, we could see people jumping to their death.

Open sky annulled
to bordered lines of
uptown edges,
worldview momentarily
forcibly redefined by
memories of buildings and sadder days,
recollections of pillars of biblical smoke rising

A photograph
makes me look up,
and sit down historically,
need to catch a breath,
to rest mentally,
upon a storied small bridge's steps,
that I well recall,
a disappeared street stoop.
all were rubble then and once
upon that day.

Wear, tear, and older eyes distill perspective,
but the hardy heart is hardly stilled
by the recognizable gray upon
bon vivant gray reflective surfaces of
memories of buildings and sadder days

So today, on a reborn street,
I rest upon reconstituted speckled curbstone,
the city's lowered down ledges,
the city's lowered down-town boundaries,
constantly redrawn, but
nonetheless, always rebuilt from their own
regenerated stony compost,
and the NY passersby doesn't even notice
a man, head in hands,
silently weeping, thinking that:

We throw away so much we should have kept.
We keep so much we should have thrown away.

Lose keepsakes, but keep our mysterious sadnesses
locked away in compartments that open only to
benedictions uttered in ancient tongues.

Make your own list,
be your own curator,
catalogue visions of sophomoric triumphs,
museum mile pile
those early poetic drafts,
be unafraid of memories
raw and ungentrified,
overlaid, buried underneath
postmortem of dust-piles of senior critiques

Finally went downtown to see
where the blessed water falls
into catacomb pits that once
were the foundations
of buildings that ruled the cityscape,
downtown anchors
for a modern city that exists
only because it was built on
million year old granite bedrock

Stone monuments are stolid, discrete.
Memories are of grayed, frayed edge consistency.
Negatives resurrected that survive digitally,
all blend synthetically, layer upon layer,
essence distilled in a single,
black and white photograph
that serves to
disturb complacency,  
awaken stilled pain,
reflections suppressed,
are restored
Written August 2013
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
for Ali, Ali, Ali, a daughter by any other name
                                                        (April 2014)
Dear Nat,

your letter caught me up,
at the Village Vanguard bar,
so addressed and there saved,
knowing, believing it's a sign,
time to meet fleshed again,
my sometimes sub-let
neighborhood friend

doing a gig there
this weekend
finishing up the tour
where it all began,
nothing gonna change my mind,
in the city that's where I'm staying.

the road is calling out my name,
but I ain't walking out the door anytime soon,
they want too much body and soul,
but don't worry once or even twice,
got some cash, it's all right

early afternoon, bar empty,
got a few rainy minutes,
got me paper n' pen
and a beer, from the
bar man who also gets
me whatever else I need (haha)

sorry I missed you in Cleveland,
you, back in New York when
I'm finally out your way,
ain't just like fate,
to make us ache so all alone

read your lyrics,
made making some suggestions,
like a baby's new clothes,
lots of bows, a few lines fell
down onto the floor
can't be found
like broken pearls on a dance floor

J. sends regards,
told her what you wrote about
A Long Black Veil, she laughed,
promises she will wear one
when next we all three meet

touring was good and hard,
traveling time is writing time,
but sitting here thinking
how many years have passed and gone
since we first met,
so many roads different taken
by many a first friend,
each one I've never seen against,
let's not that happen to us

rail riding done for awhile,
see ya back on Bleecker Street,
if we're still "cool"
we'll have that fire burning!
Ok, we'll swap some  lines, fine,
but I want, claiming dibs
on that ole easy chair

P.S. got the rent money covered till your return in the summer

Bobby
April 1968
~~~~~~~~~
Between 1968 and 1973,
split my time tween Cleveland and NYC,
before returning to ny full time in the summer of '71.

I lived at 352 Bleecker,
above the long gone
but now moved to Brooklyn,
Pink Teacup restaurant. The eyetalian bakery on the corner of Bleecker and Seventh Ave., long time gone...almost fifty freaking years ago...anyway...I think the stain glass window is still there, gonna have to check it out...shoot forgot about Google Earth!
The 352 Blues

this city treats the poor
with swift unkindness,
but if you peel your eyes,
you don't necessarily have to always
sing the ole 352 Bleecker Blues

the eyetalian storekeeper,
gives us morning java,
when we sing for him on the guitar,
The Star-Spangled Banner,
refills, if we add America the Beautiful

they say that heat rises,
but that don't seem true
in our third floor walk up
on rue 352 Bleecker Street,
the cold companion enters
thru the busted stain glass window

no matter, no cares,
we light the fireplace,
with wood and anything that'll burn,
we scavenged from the street,
pallets and newspapers,
yesterday's 352 truths

at two AM, the cops, in their cars
cooping, fast asleep, only just us,
the johns, the ****** and troubadours,
walking the streets looking for
free stuff to burn

pass the hat for tips
next to the arch,
enough for daily bread
but we get our ***** and ****
for free, just for singing the 352 blues

even when down and out
on the village streets,
bleak on Bleecker street,
you gotta sing the 352 blues,
especially when you're
riding high and living cool,
down on easy Bleecker Street
~~~~~~~
Before you ask me if this true,
save your breath,
the answer is
Which part?
L B Nov 2016
Not the lone glory of an orange
basking in Depression’s dusk—
its fluted bowl of purple glass

Nor the fall ways of amber
Leaves burned by roadside
curling smoke’s sun-lit sash

Not tree-lined streets
rabid leaves’ raspy voices
whirling giddy in the wind—

...in none of these

But in the moments I filled with fixing
a lamp shade
painting this place
to a stern perfection

...I thought of you
ordering the tyranny of me
the glass of me
the concrete conscience
I must be right!  Mustn’t I?

The religion of our lives
Driving through Sundays with Polkas blaring
feeding the ducks
and a roast at noon
Waffles and TV later
Lassie and You Asked For It
Wiping my mouth on a Sunday sleeve

I asked for it, alright

He came and went
to the smell of Ice Blue Aqua Velva

He came and went larger than life and first on the scene
to hurricanes, fires, muggings, and races
and of course—THE SHOP!
in an amazing array of uniforms and vehicles
Ambulances, wreckers, pickups, and police cars

He was terrifying! Wonderful!

We would love at a pained distance

His cabinet in the cellar was always locked
But now, just suppose—

if a kid were to haul on its handles...
supposedly—the sheet metal would heave and roar
with the thunder of him!

And those late nights
those harsh ****** lights
lidded hundred watt cones
in the spotlight of THERE
where I wasn’t
in the odor of oils too noxious to dare
beyond the girlish shadows—

he cleaned his guns

I waited and watched where everything seemed
to be
What...?
It seems—he just pushed her against a wall!
I step from girlhood
with my two-cents worth
and it seems I will not be Queen for a Day!

I take my vows!
I swear I will not scrape wax
from the corner of the kitchen floor with a knife!

I have waited.  I have watched
the routines of his mornings
He’s brushing his teeth; he’s combing his hair
he’s tying his shoes while he chats with the cat
I can tell you the creak of the stairs
and the sound of his footsteps rounding the house

...the routine of his return at supper
the routine of anger
My routine of being late—
and as good as dead
squeezing behind—
HIS CHAIR
Praying he wouldn’t notice the mud
Praying for the epiphany of his good mood
when the TV and me--

wouldn’t be blamed for the downfall of the nation
We were not Polish, but my Dad's French-Canadian family lived in a Polish community.  Thus, the fused culture and all the happy, Sunday Polka music.

Lassie, You Asked For It, and Queen For a Day were popular TV programs of the 1950s.
Khoi-San Aug 2018
Filled to the brim
Pizza Huts
Burning rubber
Dj''s club'n pub
Dancing duel
Free spirits and
**** riddled
Irie cast Bob's Inn
The beat go's on
Bright lights
Stripped trousers
Men on bikes
Ladies sell flowers
Restaurant's cappuccino
Long street lives
Cosmopolitan heaven
Twenty four seven
Beneath Table Mountain Long Street
A must do for tourists
saw:

the adoration of the daddy,
as his red haired babes
leaned into
either side of him,
courtiers to a king
on the way to school this AM,
transfusing his magical super~fatherly,
by inhaling his special powers through
their nostrils, direct from his
broad and powerful brave-heart chest,
for use later in the wild jungle
of second grade
•••
an elderly gent whose walker rattled
with every lift and kerplunk on
the street~steppes of a dangerous city
for the brittle of bone and the easily dentable,
and the crowd that gathered round walking
at precisely the same pace he required
to make it across the widest boulevard
which was thirty seconds more than the
Dept. of Transportation's asinine calculations
and a miracle from Lourdes occurred -
not one horn honked in ire as the court
escorted their Long Live the King
safely across the street, as if
idiocy was like rain, against the law,
until after sunset as in Camelot

•••
an elegant germanic man,
in homburg and velvet collared overcoat,
taking care of sales and distribution of
newspapers and candy at the corner paper "stand"
while the elderly owner, whose partner~wife of
fifty years had recently passed, now had no one
but someone's pop whose was out
walking our cocker spaniel,
to tend the place while said candyman
obeyed nature's callings

and all his fans and friends who passed
on their way to the adjacent subway station,
exclaimed Erwin, Erwin what are you doing?
his twinkled crinkled eyes replied,
enjoying their puzzlement, laughingly saying
"making spare change"
•••
where I lived these little miracles occurred so frequently,
was told a story that the ministering angels
could not keep up with their duties,
complaining to the On High, who resoundingly loudly
commanded their silence! by reminding them that
all these, his creatures, were his own precious,
the reason for creation and why they were needed,
and the sum of all these small acts gave them their own
existential purpose, now angry at himself for loss of temper,
soft spoke as a parent and told them better,
hush my children, we have much to do!
•••
so now you impatiently need to know
why this scripture
came to be known as
$$$$$
for I was witness to all of this,
all on that day,
that was twenty fours hours long
across many hard hearted Hiroshima decades,
that made me
temporarily

*the richest man in the world
a proud member of the collective of the false.
Off the train I hit the streets
and start laughing. This is ridiculous,
incomprehensible. How can innumerable bipeds
have individual inner lives. Why are they doing
what they’re doing? I have no answer
New York City but to also go about my business
in this case prepare for surgery, survival.

But why survive with so many exact replicas
to replace me? A swarm of ants or hive of bees,
social organisms they’re called, climbing
over each other, avoiding bumping and amazingly
making way, anticipating the sudden turns
and straight paths of others, strangers but brothers,
sisters incubating, the cells of a small
*****, nodes of a single semi-conscious organism.

The concept of a higher power that cares
for me is also risible yet how else
can I explain the surgeon and his team,
robots and magnetic resonance imaging machines,
all primed and trained to save my life.
They are not particularly interested in what
I do with my time. I am immediately
in love with the Irish brogue of the head nurse,

the Indian skin of the physician’s assistant.
The long extraordinarily thin
fingers of the famous surgeon. All
mine to savor (and the other cancer patients).
Back on the streets, rush to the train.
So many women to choose from! One Asian-American,
a dancer I imagine, stands out, tall
calm, still, graceful. No cell, no hair, no hurry.

Yesterday’s suicidal thoughts: the mind
is a clever servant, insufferable master. Therefore,
meditate on this: absolute need, dependence on the Other.
I still like Hombre, The Shootist and Ulzana’s Raid
but realize those dead heroes
were subordinate to society: the gun manufacturers who armed them.
Thus, I go for cancer tests, accepting, not predicting results.
Hero accepting help.

A torrential rain following five days of flooding,
tornadoes out west busting up wooden towns
all because too many of us are hoarding plastic, herding electrons.
None of us know how it will end, what the outcome will be
(of our surgery). The best that can be said
is Don’t forget to breathe. And you might
as well believe in that higher power.
www.ronnowpoetry.com

--title from a tune by Billy Strayhorn
Steve Page May 2
My street was full of aunties
and full of uncles too.
They weren't the same as family,
but grown-ups who we knew.

Parents of my mates,
friends of mum and dad,
people I could trust to share
what it was they had.

Winter parties, summer trips
a massive paddling pool,
loads of music, lots of love
and laughter while we grew.

Common homes and gardens,
a street in open-plan,
more than simply neighbours,
one big, street-long clan.
Growing up in S E London in the 60s and 70s.
Whit Howland Jul 11
We walk uphill
almost parallel  
with the sky

but like all our other
adventures

we are out
to conquer different things

mine is to take this hill
one paced but ragged

breath upon breath
foot over foot
to plant my flag

yours is to shutter
to and fro

distilling object
place and time
and what is now

into an orderly
chronicle of us

Whit Howland © 2019
A WIP.
Negra Jan 2016
If I crossed the street I would've been in the district with all the black kids
I begged my mom to take me there.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't have gotten IB
I wouldn't have gotten the prestige
That I thought everyone deserved
Saving me almost a year of college
And money like a scholarship.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't, as much, question my identity.
I wouldn't be single and question my beauty through white eyes
I would learn how to answer questions in class without feeling my white peers lying their eyes on me to see if the black girl could get it.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't be the only black girl in my classes.
If I crossed the street I wouldn't have to feel like MLK day was my job to announce according to my substitute teacher.
Because you know what week it is! Well of course you know girl.
If I crossed the street I would've been with my black brothers and sisters
Rather than trying to find my black experience in my white friends
But I didn't cross the street.
Maybe it took a bit longer to learn to love my black because of that.
But today I love myself
No matter what border I reach
And who disclaims or proclaims my authenticity.
I love my black self.
Maybe I wasn't supposed to cross the street
Sukanya Basu Dec 2015
"To Richard,"
And tears fell, as i wrote your name.

"Don't go please."

34, wishland street,
Where wishes are unfulfilled.
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