Featured Online Poems

The Poseidon Adventure Comes to North Babylon, New York

 

Crammed like steerage in the old theater,

we all recognized Shelley Winters’ character—

each one of us had a grandmother like that

or had a friend with a grandmother like that.

Growing up on the shore, we were also not 

surprised by that great wave of movie water—

we knew what the ocean could do.

 

Our 70s were filled with pious reminders

of Good and Evil, messages from movies

told us that anyone, anything could sift through us: 

sharks, earthquakes, mad bombers on planes,

the Devil’s son, the Mafia, fires in high rises.

We knew long before the house in Amityville,

just two towns away, gave way to ghosts 

and film rights what might await us, and it did: 

Ronald De Feo, Jr.

Son of Sam.

Richard D’Angelo.

Joel Rifkin.

 

We had seen them before, in the dark,

as we cheered and screamed and filled up on popcorn

and candy. Goodness would not help.

We saw good characters die and become 

an off-hand remark made by the heroes

at the end of the film.

 

Evil came in many forms, 

and when Shelley Winters gulped 

water for air and clutched her heart

as it exploded, we learned like

the good children we were that no one

was safe and nothing could be trusted.

It would be a handy lesson to know.

Crab Orchard Review Vol 7 No 2 S/S 2002 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sex and Death

 

One student sees sex in everything we read,

but not in a Freudian way, or a frat boy way,

or even in away that would make me cancel

early morning office hours like that semester

I had a level 2 sex offender in class.

He sees it and is repelled, chastising

with tongue clucks each pervert author.

He has cracked the code

and his tests are wars of morality,

battlefields to prove how duped I have been,

how naïve I must be. He is sure I am innocent

of purposefully trying to deflower

their brains, those tender muscles that are too busy

to think about death—which I can’t help

but see in every dead author we read—

because there is sex all around them, the sex

I am forcing onto them as if I were groping them

in my office, the sex that has so obviously

obsessed everyone secretly until—
thank God for us all--he came along.

The Teacher's Voice, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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