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Two Poems About the Village


Last night
in East Village
the garbage was tossed out
only to wash ashore
along 2nd Avenue
resold by peddlers,
bought by the hopeless few
who see a nostalgia,
a bargain, who take it home
try it on, or plug it in
only to find it’s irrevocably broken
and throw it out again.
And reclaimed again
by those mining
the garbage cans,
eventually impounded, set free
abandoned, rediscovered,
strewn and shoveled,
into garbage trucks
under police escort.
And what falls between
the gutter and the sidewalk
is yet re-reclaimed.
Things don’t go quietly in East Village,
they return kicking and screaming.
Everything that ever was,
still is lurking here,
either in someone’s home,
a peddler’s shopping cart,
a filthy sidewalk
or in a garbage truck
under police escort.

Ramrod gay bar West Village new york city


Ghosts are cruising Christopher
returning to old haunts
of the late ’70s,
along West Street
to the scuttled Warehouse Piers
under the dismantled,
once-corroded West Side Highway
up to 7th Avenue
to Sheridan Square
looking for books in the old Maloff,
assembled in tears;
a vigil outside
the assaulted Ramrod
or the nightly marches,
decades ago,
to stop the movie Cruising;
the chant, “Out of the bars
and into the streets!”
moving as they call,
ebbing back to quieter times,
beyond life’s
stone walls.

–Arthur Nersesian


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