New Bedford

It's an industrial port,
soot stained washed out brick,
windows trimmed
like the entrance to a grand
abandoned tunnel,
rounded façade,
propped out window frames
angled for cross ventilation,
panes broken, some by stone,
some by small caliber gun fire
from passing cars on the beltway,
others from windstorm, indifference
and by the simple slamming of time.

Blocks away, artists are in their lofts,
barefoot on polished oak boards.
Recessed lighting and posters
of the Industrial Revolution
looming over a black
latte machine.
But here, under steely skies,
young men without jobs or imagination
rob the streets of dignity.

Out on the docks
there is a strike,
some labor dispute;
it's lasted for weeks.
A shipment of Clementines from Morocco,
rotting and sticky,
drawing rats.

Dogs are really running this town,
dogs that roll in things
and stink up the place.
Dogs come in packs to clear the deck.

Overlooking the cargo bay,
a man in an office,
at a desk cluttered with junk mail and unopened bills.
The oncoming darkness, as usual,
contains twilight and dawn
at its edges.
The man is the owner;
he's lost everything.
The phones stopped ringing weeks ago.
There is no use complaining anymore.
And the ones who love him
have no idea what any of it means.
He has lost his mind.
He smells his own heart,
sweet and smoking,
like something over an open flame.
The dogs don't make much of a fuss
over the oranges
but they smell something they like.
They are in an excellent mood.

The man is saying,
to no one in particular,
"somebody tell me something good,
just lie to me, please..."

O.K., the best news:
you get to keep your shoes.

Out on the docks,
the dogs have played hard,
they nap and twitch.
Just don't mistake their silence
for some kind of miracle.

Recently added poems

Hyannis, 1982
from Bass River Press
Cultural Center of Cape Cod, Inc.

Barstool Confidential
from Pinyon #30, 2021

drawer of hearts
from Dash #14, 2021

Way Out West
from Trajectory #21, 2020

September, 2014
from Trajectory #21, 2020

On Dad’s Hundredth Birthday (2018)
from Trajectory #21, 2020

The Moments
from Lummox #9, 2020
Lummox Press

Bud In Cans
from Last Call, Chinaski ! Lummox Press 2020
Lummox Press

Death Bed Blues
from Pinyon #29, Spring 2020

Anytime Now
from Muse #33, Spring 2019
Muse on Facebook

No One Notices
from Blueline #40, 2019

When the Fog
from Blueline #40, 2019

Flying into Storm
from Blueline #40, 2019

For One Thing
from Blueline #40, 2019

Real Poetry
from Last Call, 2018

One Night in Pasadena
from Hanging Loose #110, 2018

Seven Voices
from Hanging Loose #110, 2018

from Earth's Daughter #92, 2018

from Trajectory #15, Fall 2017

Moving To Pennsylvania
from Trajectory #15, Fall 2017

Running Bases
from New Letters Vol. 68, Nos. 3 & 4, 2002
The Curators of the University of Missouri

St. Germaine District, Paris, 1949
from Rattle #16, Winter 2001
The Frieda C. Cox Foundation Inc.