All the Time

By Gerald Solomon. Posted in Issue Three and Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

We no longer see that man that crazed old misfit
wander up our house-proud street.
Camped all winter on the subway’s iron grates,
trusts in body-heat, a paper cup for coins.
Stutters to himself some repeated sorrows.

A mutt on a knotted string, always with him, bored.
Filled with his stuff, a borrowed market-cart.
Perhaps he planned to ignore these cold nights
just to get his normal sleep.
I’ve often passed him there.

The system doesn’t work for him.
Seems our all-too-human pity —
arms spread wider than savvy caritas
or bandaged justice will — likewise lets down
a guy in woman’s caftan, broken shoes.

I tell you I saw another one, in antique Rome,
under the plane-trees on crowded via Formio,
unlikely squalls of rain in June throwing down
whole bunches of young leaves on darkened stones.
I remember still.

Wouldn’t it be the same long ago?
I’ve read that hard on ninety, Sistine done with,
far from his giant boy-David — infirm, appalled,
sank down on those steps by the tourists’ burbling fountains,
in deaf tears for all the friends he used to know.

● ● ●

Gerald Solomon was born in London and studied English Literature at Cambridge University. After a short spell as sales assistant at a bookshop in London's Charing Cross Road he worked as a producer at the BBC. Subsequently becoming engaged in education, he helped found General Studies courses at Hornsey College of Art, and this led eventually to an enjoyable period teaching poetry courses at Middlesex University. He retired early in order to paint and write. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines in the USA and UK as he prepares his first collection. He is married, with four children, and lives in Manhattan.

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