It’s poetry month and we asked our community to answer 3 important questions, one of them being…
What is the poem you’d give to someone living in your town 100 years from now?
Here are some of the answers we got.
Richard Jeffrey Newman
I am astonished at their mouthful names–
Lakinishia, Chevellanie, Delayo, Fumilayo–
their ragged rebellions and lip-glossed pouts,
and all those pants drooped as drapery…
-Patricia Smith, “Building Nicole’s Mama”
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life…
-Willian Stafford, “Ask Me”
Poet, Associate Editor, CavanKerry Press
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine…
-John Keats, “Ode on Melancholy”
Ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and children of the state,
I am here because I could never get the hang of Time…
-Terrance Hayes, “Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy”
The Hoboken Poem
By Jack Wiler
Hoboken, city of light.
Hoboken, a bump on the river.
Hoboken, four guys on a corner in guinea
tees gold chains and they’re all the mayor’s friend;
hey they work in his office.
Hoboken, elections every day.
Hoboken, opportunity around every corner.
Every corner a danger.
No stop signs.
No sign of anyone stopping.
Every taxi paused at every corner.
Hoboken, one taxi fare
Hoboken, a bus every minute.
Hoboken, a train every ten.
Every building on fire.
Children falling from the windows.
Mothers running into the street.
Hoboken, even the fire houses on fire.
Hoboken, rising and falling
burning and smoldering.
Hoboken, every factory closed.
Every park full.
Every man a king.
Every one works at the Board of Ed.
Hoboken, unlimited overtime.
No end to the money you can make.
Hoboken, home of baseball.
Hoboken, only one baseball field.
Hoboken, the first fly ball over the Elysian Field,
the first smoking fastball,
the first frozen rope drops just beneath the Maxwell’s sign,
the drop of coffee lands on the ball,
the fielder slips, the factory closes, the sign goes dark,
the children run in the street till well past eleven.
the fires are out, the factories are closed,
the sign is dark, the world is quiet,
the sun is setting.
Hoboken, good to the last bitter drop.
Hoboken, city of light:
city of paused taxis,
city of beer and fires and children in the street.
the factories closed, the lights out
pauses mid day.
No election today.
No overtime today.
No games are scheduled.
The children leave the house at nine in the morning dressed
as spooks and demons and march down the street.
Ragamuffins in a ragamuffin town.
A raga then for Hoboken.
A last song for a lost town.
taxis waiting for the children to pass.