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Friday, July 24, 2009

Town of Niagara - Late 1940's

My favorite place for poetry, Medusa's Kitchen published this poem recently. I hope you enjoy it.


Here is where the railroad tore

Through the edge of our town.

Black earth, black air and the perfect

Angel, steam, sung by whistle

Toots and a language of flags,

Brakemen’s lanterns and the booming

Freight cars tearing dark holes

Through all the seasons.

We were Town of Niagara boys.

The city boys knew it because

We walked in the streets when

We crossed Hyde Park Bridge

To go into the city together.

We didn’t have sidewalks.

Our barber shop in a drear

Apartment building called

The Ten Commandments.

Mr. Brunetti’s grocery store,

Where he reigned, cigar mashed

In his face, his wife, small,

Watching from the shadows.

Brownie’s gas station “If you can’t stop,

Smile as you go by.”, the sign

Facing cobblestones of Hyde Park

Blvd. There was a war in Europe,

Japan. It seemed exotic until

The dead came home and we

Knew their names and faces,

Their mothers and fathers.

The flag-draped boxes and crisp

Ceremony. Taps at Riverdale.

It was good to be from there.

Where the air always smelled.

Chemicals and hot slag in the night

Poured into open fields from

Midnight trams, glowing as our

Lives glowed, brighter than radio

Dials tuned to the news and spoken

Fictions churning it all together.

The town, the trains, the Ten

Commandments, the cigar, the dull

Gas station and nights filled

With the crazy wonder of it all.

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