Word on the Street

Over the last few months, readers have sent us poems they’ve written. A selection:

22 Jul 2020 | 04:57

If you look out the window, you may see the sun

By Elizabeth Haller-Walsh

If you look out the window, you may see the sun

Trees, bushes and plants may be sprouting out, one by one

The gift of rain nourishes the earth, alerting buds to nature’s call

Showering sprinkles of water, create patterns as each fall

Blossoming bushes, and flowers of various shapes, colors, and styles

Timing dictates their debut, as spring and summer last only a short while

As the weather changes, leaves and petals dance, descending to the ground

Waiting for the seasons change, until it’s time for another go around

Elizabeth Haller-Walsh is the author of “Haggadah of the Heart.”

SMALL LOSSES AND SMALL GAINS

By Zenaide

Stressful Covid days

Move so slowly

Yet suddenly it’s six PM

And nothing accomplished.

How queer is that

Why bother going out

And playing chess

With too many maskless pieces

Moving on the sidewalks.

But guilt for not taking

Care of my body

Sent me into the streets

To get my heart pumping.

Living near the East River

Only ventured eastward

Seeking the safety of

Less congested streets.

Decided this day

To risk adventure

And travel westward to

To see what might be happening.

Second and Third had changed.

Large rectangles of curbside roadways

Are cordoned off with

Fences or ropes

Some, with canvas canopies

Or huge umbrellas

To shade the sun

Outfitted with

Sparsely spaced

Tables and chairs.

Now one may eat

Next to whizzing cars.

I sized up a few places

Where it might feel safe

To sit and have lunch.

None passed muster.

Turned back by

Another route

Wondering about what

My kitchen held for lunch.

Then, right there,

Luke’s Lobster appeared

And the roadway seating

Had lots of safe space.

Light bulb went on

Sat at a table

Took out my phone,

Ordered a lobster roll.

Five minutes later

It started to drizzle

No large umbrella or canopy.

Damn.

Five minutes after that

It began to pour,

My bagged order arrived,

No shelter in sight.

Requested a large trash bag,

Made a face hole

And dryly walked home

With my dry lobster roll.

Zenaide, a textile artist and writer, lives on the East Side.


TWO POEMS FOR THE PANDEMIC

By Jane Seskin

WHEN THE SKY IS FALLING

I must first take

a breath, then visualize someone

who loves me, inhaling hope yet

knowing there are things I won’t

be able to control.

I can still eat books, music and art

and have conversations with my

community, where I tell them I

am grateful for their presence in

my life and then lift up my arms

to sing and dance and laugh, to

make the noises that affirm my

stable presence in this world that

has become so perilous.

I see silence now as a welcome

friend as I look for and notate a

daily moment of joy, yet continue

to push back and thru emotional

discomfort, knowing I will not die

from allowing the feelings of anger,

sadness and loss to wash over my

skin.

I will welcome the dreams where I

step on a rainbow, extend my hand,

open my heart and give away flowers

and kindness - for I know that even

though the sky is falling, my body

vibrates

with this gift of being alive.

PLEASE REMEMBER

you are

not alone.

Everyone

you’ve loved

and who’s

loved you

over the years

is now with you

at this difficult

time.

You walk with

all, the memories

strong and

you are safe.

Jane Seskin, LCSW is a psychotherapist and author of poetry and personal essays in national magazines and journals. Her most recent book is “Older, Wiser, Shorter: An Emotional Road Trip to Membership in the Senior Class.”

May 27th - 100,000 +

By Ada Strausberg

Today we reached that dreaded mark

The number so awful and stark

Across this land, no state is spared

A person lived and someone cared

No, not just a number or name

Each an extinguished life and flame:

Someone’s child, sister, mother

Father, daughter, son and brother

Grandparent, uncle or an aunt

Cousin, friend, lover, Makes me rant

There’s someone’s husband, someone’s wife,

Those who gave to save another’s life.

Remember them by doing good

Even just doing what you should.

Know how deadly is this disease

They’d ask of you, so won’t you please.

ONLY FOUR WEEKS LATER 125,000 +

It’s just four weeks

And we reached another peak

The death rates up a quarter

Caused by this mortal mortar.

Almost 10 million ‘cross the globe

Imagine if each time a strobe

We’d all be truly blinded

Can’t we all be civic minded?

How much longer can people deny it?

How much longer some folks defy it?

Endangering others by “I don’t care”

Can’t you see it’s everywhere?

The window is closing we are told

Now’s not the time to be falsely bold

Ada Mark Strausberg, born and bred in NYC, lives on the Upper West Side.