Field Notes, Week of 11-23-21

Arthur Russell‘s recap of The Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Workshop of November 23, 2021

Stephen Sondheim died a little yesterday, and PBS Newshour played portions of a 2010 interview they did.  If you write poems, you’ll be engrossed in this:

Sondheim: “If you think of a lyric as a little one act play,
Then every line is a scene,
And a quatrain becomes an entire act,
Each line is a scene and you’ve got seven words in a line
So let’s say each word is a speech….
Well, you know, if you’re writing a play
and something’s wrong with a speech,
you cut or change the speech,
same way you’ve got to do it word by word.
It is as focused as that.”

Interviewer: “and the greatest focus is on the words that rhyme.  Sondheim writes lying down, the better for a quick nap when things aren’t going well, he says.  He uses an old rhyming dictionary, a 1946 edition of Roget’s Thesaurus”

Sondheim: “Rhyme draws the ear’s attention to the word, so you don’t make the least important word in the line the rhyme word; And, also, a rhyme can take something that is not too strong and make it much stronger.  If you tell a joke in rhyme, it’s twice as funny as it would be if you just told it in prose, if it was just a speech. The same words!

But the rhyme goes [hits fist on palm] does That to it, and that’s one of the uses of rhyme. It’s not only to focus the attention on a word but to strengthen what you’re saying.

Now sometimes you avoid a rhyme because you don’t want to draw the ear’s attention because you want to fool’em(!) because one of the things you want to do in a song and in a scene and in a play is surprise an audience.”

Interviewer: “And that surprise, Sondheim says, can come in very subtle ways, something happening between the ear and the brain, for example, he believes words that are spelled differently but sound alike, such as “suffer” and “rougher” engage the listener more than those spelled similarly: “rougher” and “tougher””

Sondheim: “I think we see words as they were on paper sometimes when you hear them.  I don’t mean it’s an actually conscious thing, but I’m absolutely convinced that people essentially “see” what they’re “hearing.”

Now, this is me, Arthur: I think we poets [regardless of denomination] ignore Sondheim at our own peril, at risk to our work. This is a scientist, an experimental prosodist, a dentally intense marksman who could drill exacting wormholes through scalp, skull and skepticism using words alone, and change perceptions with his bare wit.

Now, to get to the matter at hand, we had an amazing workshop on Tuesday; great poems, great discussions, and both Shane Wagner and Susanna Lee back in the fold.

Shane Wagner‘s poem, “Heaven” considers life after death through the poetic lens of a Billy Collins poem that suggests heaven is what we imagine it to be, but when the speaker tries to play the Billy Collins game, he’s struck by how little his imagination matches his desire, which is to live the life he lives, and that part of the poem, beginning with an exceptionally long line, is where the poem, as far as I’m concerned, breaks out of its essayistic, armchair, pipe-smoking, patches-on-its-sleeves mode and becomes deeply, personally heartfelt.  Here’s that line: “But I find it increasingly hard to imagine sharing my body with anyone except my wife.” The poem lingers on that bed, focusing on his wife’s handicraft of the quilt, and actually seeing her “mouth working an unconscious side business” while she worked. Some workshoppers, while appreciating where the poem went, said the poem needs the essayistic bit to set up the magic. To which I say that if you call your poem “heaven” and start it “but I find it increasingly hard to imagine sharing my body with anyone except my wife,” you have done what poetry alone can do.  We will see what Shane thinks of that.

Don Z’s “Museum of the House Made From Doormats” is sketch poetry of great immediacy. He says he wrote it ten minutes before the workshop, possibly after watching an episode of “Little House on the Prairie,” giving it the freshness of mozzarella from a pork store, or of Michael Landon. The poem uses the image of a doormat to illuminate the vast experience of mortality, and of thresholds generally, which makes it something of a  relative of Shane Wagner’s “Heaven.” So, I guess it’s true that thoughts of mortality can sharpen the mind.

David Briggs was back (Hi, David) with a poem called “B-movie love life” which had the clever device of tracking an actual love story by reference to cliched tropes of B-movies, and begins: “Remember when we were lost upriver,/ realizing the hole we’d stepped in/ was really a footprint?” and then, “Remember when we stole/ the Alpha Romeo/ for a joyride,/ but found it had a transmitter/ that led the henchmen/ right to our villa?”—continuing all the way to “Remember the baffled newscaster/ who narrated our last moments?” It was an exhilarating experience moving through those cinematic tropes standing in for the progress and decline of a love affair. I look at poem as a series of loose-fitting metaphors, in which the tenor (or thing described) is a love affair, and the vehicle (the metaphorical descriptor) is the movie tropes. For me, in this draft, the vehicle ran over the tenor, or just parked on it, and yet it wouldn’t take too much tweaking to change the focus so that each iteration of the movie substitution would deepen our involvement with the lovers and their disappointment.

And super-interestingly, Barbara Hall brought a poem called “And I don’t like pretzels….” about flipping channels on the tv, finding nothing, not even the pretzels she doesn’t like, to interest her except her own ruminations on history and American fuck-everything-up-ism; and at the moment the poem considers the end of the world, it does so only by summoning up sci-fi adventure movies, then, in despair, reaching for another pretzel (empty calories).

Frank Rubino brought “Solaris,” a fantastically ambitious poem that continues his knife-edge consideration of adult parenting. The poem, which distances itself from the subject by calling her “person P” is “interrupted” several times by a diagram of an Oxycontin molecule, a picture that you can’t read aloud when you read the poem, but is there, the whole time you read it, just as Oxycontin (an addictive opioid drug manufactured by the Sackler family’s company Perdu Pharma) is always there in the family, interrupting. The poem also uses an old Russian movie called “Solaris” as a backdrop as well as a title; the story of the movie, sketched in the seventh and eighth stanzas of the poem, involves the ghost-like apparition of “a man’s dead wife” in an orbiting space lab. The poem also starts with and seems to live in the aftermath of an argument with someone over how problems should be addressed, whether the speaker is failing to confront them or looking for a new way to do so. Over and over, the speaker says “I’ve been thinking about currents and what flows through me,” which may be less of a refrain and more of an anaphora, and each time the poem repeats this line, it delves into a different sort of current, of thought, of water. No one can doubt the seriousness of this endeavor, and if Frank can tame all of these elements, he will have one behemoth of a poem on his hands. Frankly, I said it to Shane—there’s no way he should let Billy Collins hijack his poem—and I’d say it too to Frank about Solaris: those Russian filmmakers of the same era as Kubrick may have given you a jump start, but you owe them nothing, and your poem is plenty on its own.

Janet Kolstein continued on the metaphysical roll she’s been on with a poem called “Beholder” considering beauty and the ugliness it can lead to.

Brendan McEntee brought “At the Run” a poem designed to suggest a narrative associated with two people by focusing exclusively on the movements of a dog in which they both had an interest in a dog run. It was intriguing but frustrating for some, who wanted a little more help from the poet. Big question that. We all want to be able to draw the portrait of a lady in a single sinuous line, but more difficult to know when the line provides sufficient information from which an inevitable conclusion can be drawn or withheld.

Carole Stone‘s poem “Sweet Dreams” has rhymes, no meter, but little snatches of rhyme that give the dreams of the title their sweet tilt, or diminish or heighten the anguish of the subject, getting old alone and being lonesome. Speaking of her deceased husband, the speaker says she wishes he could see her “in my Mexican straw hat/ sitting poolside./ I haven’t cried.”

Tom Benediktsson brought us a poem called “Killing God”—a free verse in five stanzas that doesn’t so much kill god, or depict the killing of god as much as it introduces us to the tripartite “people in my head” that have hilarious, incisive and very different ideas about what god (depicted as a cricket in a glue trap) is or how ‘he’ ought to be treated. The fact that this metaphysical/metareligious rumination takes place while the speaker is wearing a Speedo (over which his floppy belly flops) and holding a silver sushi knife only makes the portrait irrefutable and unforgettable.

My poem, “Julie Hirsch” is about finding the conditions necessary to begin an artistic project. It’s in the gross form of a Petrarchan sonnet, 14 lines, an octet that portrays the subject, followed by a sestet that turns somewhat to include the speaker’s appreciation of the teacher. The poem doesn’t rhyme and it is not in the form of iambic pentameters, but rather iambic hexameters except the final couplet, which are iambic septameters.

Last thing for today, and then I’ll shut up: please consider signing up for the Brooklyn Poets Poem of the Year Award Smackdown on December 13 (a Monday) : https://brooklynpoets.org/events/awards-gala/ and supporting me in my effort to become the first two-time Brooklyn Poets Poem of the Year winner for my poem “Unencumbered” (my previous win was in 2015 for “The Whales Off Manhattan Beach Breaching in Winter). I know it’s a bit of a commitment of time and money (for the ticket). All I can say is I’d appreciate it immensely and it’s going to be a great show.  : https://brooklynpoets.org/events/awards-gala/.

—Arthur Russell

Field Notes, Week of 11-16-21

Arthur Russell‘s recap of The Red Wheelbarrow Poets’ Workshop of 
November 16, 2021

Janet Kolstein‘s “The Glittering Tower” takes the view from an apartment overlooking the Hudson River at a high rise building under construction on the other side as a beginning point for a meditation on ghosts. The crane that supports the frame of the highrise disappears in the night sky leaving behind, “the tower alone glitters in diamond white/ through the shutters of my psyche.” And at that moment, the poem turns to ghosts, but not just any ghosts, ghosts who appear to haunt Times Square “smoking and drinking spirits from brown paper bags./ They gather near Broadway, mingling among us,/ popping into theatres to catch the second act.”  

Don Zirillli brought “How to Remember a Dream,” a rewrite of a poem we all remembered for the arresting image of ‘walking backwards into a dream,’ though some of the earlier particulars were lost to us. Here, the poem is framed as a “how to” poem, which creates the expectation of a set of instructions, essentially in the second person form of address. Don complicates this expectation by having the “you” receiving the instructions confounded or merged with the “you” of the dream: “you’re glass, no longer in the way of the story you’re telling to the person actually having the dream.” That was a bridge too far for some in the workshop, but others were ready for the complication, and delighted by the you “who slowly pours a frosty night of weather/ into the top of your head.”  

My poem, “I Can Only See” tracks the progress of a person locking up his house at night before going to sleep by moving through the house from latches to lights, till his eyes close and he sees what’s going on inside his head.

Yana Kane (who will be one of the 2021 Brooklyn Poets poem of the month winners competing for poem of the year at an open to the public contest with audience voting on December 13—PLEASE COME) brought a poem called “Synaesthesia” that turned out to be less about the confusion or conflation of sensory perception and more about escape depicted as a trap door at the bottom of the ocean.

John J. Trause‘s “The Last Iris” followed the cinematographic method that he has followed in several recent poems, of zooming in on a particular detail from afar. Here, the first stanza of the poem zooms in on a cement and brick flower planter in an abandoned gas station on the corner of a block in a commercial district of a suburb, then switches in the second stanza to focus on an iris flowering in “coldest November”—a flower seemingly, though not explicitly located in the cement and brick flower planter of the first stanza. The effect could be post-apocalyptic or a celebration of life’s relentlessness.

Ray Turco brought a poem called “The Ship of My Brothers” which hearkened back to late Romantic and Victorian tropes of foreignness, evoking a kind of mythological ship sailing through the night, guided by the stars.

Frank Rubino’s poem “Dominatus Super Omnia” which Google says means “Mastery Over Everything” which is about the way a man moves through the world, seeking freedom or liberty through work, through independence, through prosperity, but how, too, the quest is or can be stymied by failure to recognize “the true box” one is in, and being stuck in a living mobius curlicue he identifies as “Changeless End of Endless Change.” It’s an audacious beginning of a philosophical investigation (hence the Latin title?) of that changeless theme in Frank’s work, identity. Hopefully, we’ll see more of it.
 
Moira O’Brien (newly elected as the sixth member of the RWB leadership called the Gang of Six), brought a satirical piece called “Today’s Special” that compared a breast biopsy with a restaurant special: “The meat is a paper thin scallopine/ achieved with a mammographic press… served on a bed of regret…” Chilling and hilarious at the same time.

Well, it’s good to be back at the Field Notes after a few spotty months, but we’ve just about finished the Mentorship Program I’ve been in with the Brooklyn Poets, so thanks for your patience. And enjoy the poems.

—Arthur

RWB Virtual Workshop—A Deeper Look

The RWB Poets started to hold online workshops on Zoom in an effort to carry on with our writing in time of pandemics. As a new initiative, we’re proposing that one of us will do a short process piece about a poem we workshopped on Tuesday.  Here is this week’s pick, Tom Benediktsson on “Ghosting.”

On “Ghosting”

“Dust.” Image by dre2uomaha0 from Pixabay.

I learned the term “ghosting” two months ago. Duh…not knowing it was a cliché, it seemed like a vivid metaphor. I thought back about times in my life when I ghosted or got ghosted, and then I remembered that dramatic day.

That’s how the poem started, breaking my rule not to write directly from personal experience. Usually I hide behind a speaker I’ve made up– a character, an alter ego. 

While writing the poem I also began to think about “ghosting” as a metaphor for writing. Writing, it occurred to me, can be a kind of “ghosting,” in the sense not of erasing but of inventing someone. Thus writing as that boy I once was is “ghosting.” A ghost writer, of course, is paid to write in someone else’s voice. Maybe all narrative poetry is ghost writing, except of course we don’t get paid. Maybe in all lyric poetry we invent a ghost of ourselves.  

But enough philosophizing. When I revise the poem I’ll drop the three ghosting definitions, for which all of the above was shorthand, and just tell the story, Tom! 

Hmmmm…. who am I when I tell “Tom” what to do?

Ghosting

I’m seventeen. Sitting in a hospital room,
failing to write a paper about Aristotle’s Ethics.
They wheel in my mother, post hysterectomy.
Her snoring stops when a patient shouts out
that the president has been shot.

My mother mumbles.
“Has the president been shot?”
I telephone my father the recluse.
“The president has been shot.”
“To hell with the president how’s your mother!”

I spend the day tending my mother
and checking on the news. That evening,
back at the university, my girlfriend of three weeks
wants to laugh hysterically, wants to dance,
wants me to be that cancelled homecoming date.

She doesn’t ask about the hospital.
I kiss her good night, realize I don’t really like her.
And so I don’t call her again. Ever.
Aristotle might not approve.

Ghosting: abruptly shutting down a relationship.
Ghosting: summoning the dead.
Ghosting: writing as another person.

It’s 57 years. That girl I hurt is a ghost.
That boy I was is another ghost.
My parents, ghosts. The murdered president.
And me

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Mar 10, 2020

Janet Kolstein

Conrad Heyer (1749-1856), The Earliest Born Man to be Photographed (in 1852)


He’d heard of the thing
and eyed images born of the contraption.
It wouldn’t take long for his own aged self 
to replicate on the silvered plate.

The man who’d crossed the icy Delaware 
with the Father of Our Country
had orbs reminiscent of the General’s.
His great, beaked nose had grown craggy with years,
his mouth indignant at the loss of teeth.

Maybe, it had been enough to see himself
in the mirror of clear lakes,
or to face his murky reflection on grooming.
He’d looked inward, and knew his character
forged with the gravitas of nationhood.

Changes come to those who live long lives,
some small, some monumental,
some bringing awe and trepidation.
As a farmer, he knew how crops grew from seeds
with the sun and the rain that nurtured his fields,

and that all living things are pitiful
when Death comes calling,
but this new machine, a camera,
miniaturized and memorialized
the very shades of his being,
and, in the beam of his eyes, 
brought forth a new way of seeing
and remembering.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Mar 3, 2020

Arthur Russell

Fellatio Salon


I used to think Japanese porn,
with its pixilated penises,
wasted the strengths
that this ethnic type 
perfected,
the ultra femme
squeaky female voices 
no other nationality
could do as well.
Pixilating the cocks,
the coitus, as well the uniquely
directional pubic hair 
of the actors, 
was a shame.

But tonight, I grazed
on a long video
about a sex worker
in a fellatio salon
giving head to five 
guys in forty minutes.
There were no booths.
The guys sat on a pair
of wide banquettes,
both facing the same direction,
waiting their turns
while the others
got sucked off
one at a time.

The sex worker gave 
each of them her full, 
coquettish attention 
for seven or eight minutes.
She started them off
with a bright caress 
of the face, but no kissing.
She’d help them 
get their pants and unders off
then enthuse
as though she’d
spontaneously come up
with the most delightful idea:
oral sex.

She’d entered the room
with a miniature
riding-hood basket
stocked with 
individually wrapped
moistened cloth towelettes
dangling from her fingers.
When she struggled 
to tear the wrapping,
her smile twisted a little.
She’d clean the guy’s groin
before, and again —
more gently —
after he’d come.

She opened 
a second towelette
to wipe her lips 
between patrons.   
What I particularly liked
about her blow jobs
was that she’d
bring a guy off 
in three, four 
minutes tops,
then, after lingering
on the display and swallow
of his cum in her mouth,
which did not appeal to me at all,

she would go back 
to sucking him off
while his dick 
was sagging down 
to limp for nearly 
as long as she had 
on the run up, and, 
for at least one guy,
the second round of sucking
had more impact
than the first.
He turned his head aside and shrieked
into his own shoulder.

The last guy
she blew 
had this cool 
bass baritone grunt,
and a short, thick dick
she seemed to like,
and she made 
a Tootsie pop sound 
each time she popped it 
out of her mouth.
She giggled 
in a slightly more 
delighted way for him
than she had for the others.

All the guys 
were super grateful
and kind of happy,
as though they’d 
just gotten 
a free car wash.
No money
changed hands.
They must’ve
paid outside,
like
a movie ticket.
Inside, they faced forward
and accepted her joy.

The big surprise
for me 
was that after 
the first few minutes, 
I didn’t mind
the pixilated dicks at all.
I didn’t 
need to see 
the lip-on-dick contact.
I could follow
the obvious progression
and read 
the implied emotion
in her courtesan face. 

Pixilated
dicks show modesty.
Her spaghetti-strap 
satin top—
which she hardly 
paid attention to 
for the first 3 guys— 
dropped off
one shoulder for the 
fourth guy. Her tit 
came out, 
but it was an accident.
She lifted it back 
with her thumb.

On the last guy, 
the one with the thick dick
and the baritone grunt,
both straps came off.
Her whole torso,
with its lovely clear
skin and her youth 
intact 
came into view.
You might have caught 
an accidental glimpse of her 
as you walked
past your teenage daughter’s
open bedroom door.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Feb 25, 2020

Frank Rubino

We Love Sad Songs
 
I play the songs she listens to over and over.
They help me get into her mind
because those songs are playing in her mind too,
and the voice they take is her voice
inside her thoughts.
 
The voice she hears in the songs in her mind
is resigned to loss.
So much, she hears that voice
that’s sad, that’s yearning to be soothed,
and it makes me think that,
within her private experience,
she feels this yearning, and needs someone
to reach her.
 
Anyone you’re talking to,
anyone you’re standing next to,
or walking up the stairs with,
on their way with you in the meek herd
through the iron passageways
under Penn Station, across the iron gangplanks
hanging over the underground tracks—
anyone with their devices in their ears like networked robots,
all of them, also, have their sad songs.

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WCW—Laura Eve Engel—March 4

For the month of March, The Williams Readings will feature Laura Eve Engel, plus our stellar open mic. Come celebrate spring with us!

The Williams Readings present:
Laura Eve Engel
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts • One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ
Plus the words of William Carlos Williams & open readings from the floor

About our feature:
Laura Eve Engel is the author of Things That Go (Octopus Books). The recipient of fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and the Yiddish Book Center, her work can be found in The Awl, Best American Poetry, Boston Review, The Nation, PEN America, Tin House and elsewhere. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives in Brooklyn, where she works as a copywriter.

Please note: We must now pay $100 per month rent for the use the Williams Center for our readings. This is in addition to the $100 per month rent the Red Wheelbarrow workshop must pay for the use of their space in the Williams Center.

We need your help to survive and continue to hold our monthly readings. We will be asking for donations. A $5 per person donation is suggested. If we all contribute, we can pay the rent!

You can follow everything about the Red Wheelbarrow, its events and poets at these sites:
Blog – https://redwheelbarrowpoets.wordpress.com
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Twitter – @RWBPoets.

RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Feb 18, 2020

Jennifer Poteet

Family on Stone Harbor Beach


If only I could have joined them, 
the clean-shaven father 
in madras shorts who strained to manage 
both umbrella and cooler in the sand. 
He reached for the freckle-faced 
woman beside him. 
Their boy tugged at the towels 
slung over her left shoulder. 

They chose a remote spot near the dunes 
but I saw them from the dock. 
The boy helped his father secure 
the beach umbrella with a hammer. 
Soon, he ran, laughing, toward the waves. 
The father produced a ball, 
joined his son at the water’s edge 
and threw it to him. 

Boats bobbed in the distance 
like bathtub toys; 
a lazy airplane banner touted Goodrich tires. 
The mother put on a straw hat 
and started to read the newspaper. 
This was the family I might have had. 

My own father let my mother and me 
drag him to the seashore once, 
but wore a sports coat and dress shoes. 
He wouldn’t go anywhere near the ocean. 
My mother’s wet bathing suit 
dripped on his oxfords. They argued, 
then we endured a long car ride home, in silence. 

Now, the mother removed three sandwiches 
from the cooler and waved. 
Father and son, bodies bronze, 
stood in the sun and waved back. 
Only one thing was missing, 
it would have made them too perfect— a dog.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Feb 11, 2020

Bill Moreland

Buy a Book Ya Bastids!


I sell reference books.
I’m a jockey in a cubicle
galloping across state lines 
and time zones.
My wobbly wagon is overloaded with
multi-volume, hard cover 
carcasses,
vetted by academics.
We offer it online free with the print 
and without that
digital ghost riding shotgun,
I’d have been extinct 
some time ago.
The Librarians I sell to have sentries;
Patience with fangs,
Fortitude with no budget.

I call them all,
and their names sometimes suit them;
from Somerval Linthicum 
at the Savannah Arts Academy
I can smell gardenias.
Tanya Faucet runs at the mouth.
Toylanda is a spoiled librarian.
But I will not cross 
Sister Loretta Marie Schollhamer
(assassins also have multiple names).
In the fall I like to call
Jennifer Two-Axe 
from Ichabod Crane High School.

I have a rambunctious librarian whose hobby 
is as a jammer 
for the Bay City Roller Girls
in the local Roller Derby League;
she elbows her way through the pack – 
on her back is stamped her pseudonym,
‘Sigourney Cleaver’.

Their breed, their kind is fierce and territorial.
The librarians’ heart beat as a pair of lions.
The American Library Association
were the first to push back 
against the Patriot Act and
“…opposes any use of governmental power 
to suppress the free and open exchange 
of knowledge and information 
or to intimidate individuals 
exercising free inquiry…”

Integrity like that you won’t get at Google.
In fact, they’ll sell it, they have a government contract.

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association
threatened to boycott our 
Notorious Lives set
if we did not expunge O.J. Simpson 
from its cover.
Editorial replaced him with Barry Goldwater,
and Barry Goldwater High School in Arizona refused to buy it,
a worthy exchange.
Our reference title on banned literature 
was itself banned
from a school district in northern Virginia 
of all places.
That is a ribbon we don with pride.

Once, a librarian whose building
was demolished by Hurricane Katrina
admonished me.
I told her our donation of a large set 
“was nothing, 
just books.”
And through tears she politely, 
firmly, as a librarian might,
sir-named my ass;
“When you scoop up books
with a flat shovel, 
and dump it 
in a muddy wheelbarrow, 
it’s more than ‘just books’, 
Mister.”

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Feb 4, 2020

Frank Rubino

DJ


I walked out the 33rd street side of my building, 
across the street for lunch, and felt, “We’re all soldiers.”

I see more and more homeless people in Penn Station camped in the passageways,
behind the departure board near track one where there’s a wall they go behind.
Maybe the cops are letting them stay. The cops are an army.

One homeless man, whose stomach is bare even in winter 
because he wears a skimpy cropped shirt, 
lets us pass around him in coats and gloves.
Are we an army, too? 

I know the Amtrak cops in Penn Station because I hit my head
on a fire extinguisher, and we chatted while they waited to see if I had a concussion.

I met DJ waiting for the Boston Amtrak. 
He was just out of Rahway jail serving twenty years. 
“I am not that kind of person,” he said, “but I will kill you if you fuck me.” 
I said, “DJ, if you always react like that, you’re going to be ruled by anger.” 
“You’re right,” said DJ. He asked could I help him get a train ticket to Camden, 
to get back with his ex-wife.
I don’t know if she knew he was coming.

Later, I considered whether I’d done a good thing 
giving DJ twenty bucks.

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