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Saturday, January 26, 2008


by Linda Lerner

Green, how much I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches! --"Somnambule Ballad" by Garcia Lorca

a politician’s generosity greens a foot wide path
curbing downtown Brooklyn streets to the bridge
it is chartreuse the wrong shade too bright
hurts my eyes to look at for long
like the sun it can momentarily blind

all august a billionaire is toying with our minds
planting green illusions beneath our feet
painting potholes mortgaged lives are stumbling into
he assures us despite cracks & peeling rust
the bridge is safe to cross

...from a Manhattan townhouse
palmed by a giant leaf in Bermuda
an ocean front mansion in Europe
reports thru man hole explosions
toxic gases leaked from a building
bureaucracy shielded from demolition
killed two firemen how well the city is doing
it was their job he doesn’t say
to die for nothing

and takes a 7 am train a few mornings
to prove how hard he is working
to green our lives

can you feel the earth thru the paint
the green wind ruffle your hair
green as in your vanished youth
is it like that

long before this politician bought the city
I have seen Lorca’s ghost lady of Spain
in Brooklyn dressed all in green promise
walking to the subway her green smile flickering
felt her aura and sniffed
the same odor of rot and bitterness
as on those green paths

like watercolor will be washed clean
come the first hard rains

Linda Lerner is the author of twelve poetry collections, the most recent being Living in Dangerous Times (Pressa Press) and City Woman (March Street Press). Recent poems appear in Tribes, Onthebus, The Paterson Literary Review, The New York Quarterly, Home Planet News, and Van Gogh’s Ear. She has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 1995 Andrew Gettler and she began Poets on the Line, the first poetry anthology on the Net for which she received two grants for the Nam Vet Poets issue. Its anthology remains on line although new publication ceased in 2000.