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Pine Street

By William Doreski

As the planet gradually warms
you chill inside your tough old skin.
The cats crouch by the wood fire
to evade the icy gusts you deploy
in praise of underworld spirits
you employed to defeat me. Miles

away, cowering in bed, I count
the few years remaining between me
and the erasure you’ve willed me.
My only blanket unravels
thread by thread, revealing
the winter dark lurking beyond.

The rows of creaky metal cots
sigh as the other homeless men
mull the world that abandoned them.
At dawn our hosts will evict
the mob to search for day employ;
but aside from shoveling snow

off flat roofs of warehouses
and schools, work too heavy for most
of us, no help needed. The railroad
grumbles as fast electric trains
hiss and sizzle toward New York.
The first slow diesel commuters

arrive with shoulder and brief bags
sloughing in the violet dawn.
You don’t care how deeply I’ve sunk
into the general urban texture.
You don’t care that medication
no longer soothes the blood pressure

that will blind me and destroy
my kidneys. Maybe I can beg
a pill or two at the clinic. Or
maybe if I go blind as Milton
I’ll learn how Paradise lost itself
without the aid of some great sin.


About William Doreski

Ghetto Boulevard

By Jennifer Brown Banks

The sound of sirens lull you to sleep,
Neighbors don't speak,
Peace don’t keep,

Liquor bottles grace lawns,
Thugs hug corners til after dawn,

Gangs ride by,
Casing victims
For their next drive-by,

The sound of sirens lull you to sleep,
Neighbors don’t speak,
Peace don’t keep,

And the cycle unbroken keeps repeat…


About Jennifer Brown Banks


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