SECTION ELEVEN
  POETRY PAGE TWO  

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COLUMN FORTY-NINE, SEPTEMBER 1, 1999
(Copyright 1999 Al Aronowitz)

[Steve Dalachinsky was born in Brooklyn and has been writing poetry since childhood.  He is also a part-time musicologist.  His work, influenced by jazz, the Beats, Blake, surrealists, and abstract expressionists, has appeared in various anthologies and magazines worldwide.  The following poem first appeared in MOODY STREET IRREGULARS.

 BLUES FOR LOWELL

   it is late august.from aboard the lowell-bound train the sky is
cowboy and quiet.2 old timers discuss the city's main diner, haircuts
and clean shaves.."god bless ya.god bless ya" one says to the other
as an old factory chimneys smoke into the distance portending things
to come.
the privilege of riding the commuter train from north station to lowell
is warming a thin line between two points and nowhere to go after that.
   coughing consumptively one old fella says..."you're irish god damn
ya..you're irish." yellow wild flowers and wood frame houses follow
us."you look nice." the other says in an old drunkard's voice.the green
outside fornicates with the sun.  

   we rush only to wait.then rush again.finally to stop.

   a new community has sprung up in wedgemere near the white horse
commons.she stares with excited melancholy from the train window,thru
the thick trees,into the cowboy sky.
   "did ya polish yer shoes?"one old fella says..."nice.lowell,is
that where yer from?"..winchester station looks rich and well-polished.
the wind is a happy moment of understatement and the geese by the pond
by the cemetery are still and round-headed like smoothly polished
stones.

                           in a fall chill
                           8 geese,heads tucked in chests
                           motionless on a log
   the dead are surrounded by water.the living are windows baring
witness.she comforts the baby poplar with her heart and I feel the
pull of reeds along the tracks,bending against our destination.  

   there is the will of the wind and the whisper of the old station's
wood..."he must have seen this too."she whispers,speaking of kerouac.the
youth in front of us,done combing his hair,gets off the train here.
across from me another young man sleeps in heavy waves of breathing."oh
the leaves are changing."she adds,as we move closer to lowell... already
changing-the forest thru the trees moving breathing dying ... a
quartet of dark-skinned hispanics have been chattering from beginning
to end,'SI" is all i comprehend.the 2 old timers have either fallen
asleep or fallen into silence.pine tree and willow waltz into their
whiskeyed mouths... suddenly,"we're gettin closer now." the quieter
one says to a stranger passing in the aisle.."see ya pal."only trees
to answer.  

   in a bleak and withered field a weathered sign of black letters
on a red background reads JACK'S...... 

   entering lowell the sky is cowboy and quiet.a host of hobo
boxcars,cushioned by time,stand to greet us.more boxcars and clouds
than we could possibly count...SOUTHERN PACIFIC.NORTHERN PACIFIC, CANADIAN
PACIFIC...on and on and on.
   "nice meetin ya harry.take care of yourself.."the short,dry,grey
old man says to the taller,leaner one.He carries a fresh bouquet and
wears a pink hospital band around his wrist.
   as we leave the train,a young hippy enters it and a factory
of ghosts releases us from today. 

           --HOODS and only HOODS--

   in the lowell station a sign reads,

           ART IS THE HANDMAID OF HUMAN GOOD...yes,i think
as i walk out into the resurrected sunlight.  ##

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