by: Kip Zegers
Kip Zegers’ poetry finds a deep and abiding music in the multi-layered experience of the everyday. He honors the moment by memorializing it with a language that echoes its complexity and transience…
(after phone calls for Obama)
The people of the city, 7th Ave., pushing
uptown, rushing downtown, a river
of legs driving, hand-held coffees, devices,
white cords leading to the ears, the eyes
are elsewhere, it’s the rush, and within it
an eddy. Two chaperones grip a map
and children circle, faces tilted up,
as the waters part around them.
At 37th St., a man sits, working his guitar,
a woman fingers an accordion,
but their movements birth no sound:
“We are broke and trying to leave New York,”
is lettered onto cardboard at their feet.
A woman reads from a scholarly journal.
A man prone, has his head in her lap,
his eyes are closed, “My husband,” says
her sign, “has ALS, please help.”
She turns a page as I pass.
She does not raise her head.
A woman stands with her back to them,
making checks on an invoice as a long
filthy truck unloads.
I’m swept upstream, big eyed, here
with yarmulkas, clingy silk, gleaming boots,
3 inch heels, pin striped cotton, $200 sneakers,
phones aloft, brief cases insistent,
and giddy for a moment in the fast current
I think, the hour pulses, we’re blood
some great heart pumps … no,
we’re swimming, in these streets, for shore.
Back to School, 30 Years
The ghost in Room 318,
in her 40’s now,
could have taken the hand
of last year’s ghost, still 18, and
others must have joined them.
It must be ghosts that bend my seeing,
the way ripples in old glass
in the windows upstairs
in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s bedroom
portaled the air outside, down
to the grass below,
where it was 1842
and a little boy lay dead.
The ghosts in Room 318
have heard such stories,
and do not reject them.
“Thoreau’s brother also died that year,
right?” is what one of them would say,
but these cannot speak,
although the room is crowded.
Kip Zegers has published three full length volumes and six chapbooks. His most recent publications are Reading Whitman in Manhattan, Foothills Publishing, 2010, and The Poet of Schools, Dos Madres Press, 2013. He has been teaching at Hunter College High School for 30 years.
Header art is by the incredibly talented Spanish street artist, Pejac.