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Poems from In a Boston Night

STREET FAIR: BROOKLINE 300

 

They are dismantling the tents in the dusk.

The steel poleframes clanging as they fall

to the ground. We are still sitting on the tarmac

under a few leaves yellowing in the September sun

a folk artist singing, “This land is my land”

and then, “Where have all the flowers gone—gone

for graveyards everyone.” You are not supposed

to cry for strangers, young men who have come back

from the desert draped in red white and blue,

but you do, quietly. The girl with the leashed gray-black

cat—looking, like you, for a pickup—dancing  (is she

drunk?) like the Odissi and Kuchipudi dancers

we just saw, accompanied by the Indian flautist (a doctor),

the Indian veena player (another doctor), the mridangam player

a scientist. For thirty minutes we are artists giving India

to the world for free—and again at MIT in two months.

It is all we have left. You have misnamed our numbers

calling them Arabic Numerals; the windows operating

system, not Bill Gates, an Indian scientist developed.

You have taken our yoga, renaming it in the New York

Times today, Christian Yoga and now Jewish Yoga

right here in Boston we must ask The Master, Iyenger,

what else can we give you Brookline?

What else can we give you World?

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER OAKS ON THE DRIVE TO PLYMOUTH ROCK

 

 

Russet on a fleece blanket in a pioneer village

not quite north of Toronto. Brown on a woolen jersey,

on a frayed bedstead on the thighs of Mount Tremblant

earth-orange. The undersides of the last holdouts

are the marks of beard-pummeled cheeks in a southern

heat will tell our friends tomorrow—or tonight— 

why did you not give a little cry, my love, or

raise my chin away with your whisper-finger touch?    

 

 

 

BLUE-STRIPED DRESS

 

Girl in a blue-striped dress

on an unpaved road: tiny stones

protruding from the gravel

at your brown-shoed feet.

Girl turning against the wind

holding hair in place

the hem of a dress in a breeze

going across the canal—we almost

drowned there—twenty years

or twenty thousand, girl in a blue

striped photograph, left behind, lost.

 

 

 

DO NOT SAY GOODBYE

 

Lemon-green buds cover the tarmac.

Young maple leaves laugh

in the wind. This is not the way     

to say goodbye; not in the pub

by a cold river, or a coffeehouse

cozy and comforted by a dozen ears

listening for tomorrow. Do not look back

to this piped time; the one who talked

too much, the one whose ears went out

to space, whose hair fell like a flaxen

Kaiteur; I’ve been there, I know

it all, Manhattan’s the world… Or

another head framed by the Charles,

Concord grape eyes; we didn’t make

that reading. Pretend, at least, we’re friends

happy for each other; we will

keep in touch, some separately; we will

become famous; I know no irony—I do

not know “American,” or own a dictionary,

in Georgetown English—eh!—South America

we cuss you to your face. We take everything

personally—even blossoms falling

on your hair. How flows the Demerara,

dear brother, still out to the Atlantic?

Do not say goodbye, until we’re gone.

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