back ~ home ~ up ~ next





Brooklyn 1979


Whitman, thou shouldst be living at this hour,

riding the Brooklyn subway or its cabs,

not tending wounds, but picking at the scabs

that crust our lives and turn our lifeblood sour.

The lusty laborers you knew now cower

in factories, kitchens, offices, or labs.

Their furtive hearts behind the concrete slabs

might yet find courage in your loving power.

O Walt, who reached into all secret places

unjudgingly and celebrated all,

now in this air-conditioned shopping mall

where buyers mingle masked, their features glossed,

discern our tender flesh and frightened faces

and whisper where our dignity was lost!


Judson Jerome



From The Village: New and Selected Poems,
Dolphin-Moon Press, (c) 1987.

Background by
Lewis Eaton

back ~ home ~ up ~ next