Morning Poem, March 21, 2017



Who will walk the old streets today?

None who remember the old days, the old ways

Who can recall the men who fought

Here in these very streets and, belly-to-the-dirt in France

Who can remember the women whom they loved?

Those who refreshed themselves with cold water

And knew to keep their backs straight and smile

Theirs was the true power.


Everyone today is just passing through

They sense no limits, yet they are bound to their own prisons

They want no part of this turf, why fight for it, or anything else

Instead of something small

They have nothing at all


Who will walk the old streets tonight

Those brick lanes where the old hotels stood

Those wooden frames with long porches on the second floors

Dollar a night.  Who stayed there then?  What could have brought them here?

Beside them, the old clubs and joints, not music, but beer and pool

And on the riverbank stands of giant hemlock and pine

Ancient, here before the white man

Their precious, light scents filter into the humid air

Lights on the river late at night, white and blue

And the two kids who bring the morning papers on their bicycles

And fog in the hollows above and the silhouette of one man who staggers home


On the other side of town the little houses are still lit up

No one can sleep on these hot summer nights

Old men in undershirts and work pants smoke hand-rolled cigarettes

And women clip laundry to the lines against the dark sky.


copyright 2017


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