Wade Newman is a graduate of Kenyon College. His poetry has been published in literary journals such as The Kenyon Review, Pivot, Mid-American Review, Carolina Quarterly, Crosscurrents, Southern Poetry Review, Confrontation, and Edge City Review. He is the recipient of the Croton Review’s Narrative Poetry Prize and the Ruth Lake Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of America. In 1996 Somers Rocks Press published his chapbook, Testaments.
For more information, click on Wade Newman’s poetry web site at:
by Wade Newman
(Copyright © 2000 by Wade Newman)
Four flights below us the diehard dealers
Argue crack prices for Manhattan Island.
Agreement joins hands, strangles fool squealers;
Street business surges like the open hydrant
Flooding the gutter from corner to corner.
The police force, my husband, nor the Mayor
Can't stop it, or protect my daughter
When she struts home late past the pimp's rank stare.
The crosstown bus shakes our building every hour;
Hourly I listen for a key in the door.
Behind it we instinctively cower,
Though my husband fronts an aggressive snore.
Four flights above a city gone to Sodom,
I curse the pushers through the intercom.
Outside the hotel traffic stops and starts
As the lovers, inside, tear off their clothing.
Frantic car horns like distant forebodings
Fill the room, but fail to stall their moving parts.
Every orgasm leads to more foreplay,
Each minute passing means a new passion spent.
They divide their lives between Heaven and pavement,
Each grid-locked week climaxing on Wednesday.
Beneath them, hot engines mutter, wheels stick
To a crawl, the sun strikes each car roof on target.
From the queen-size bed to the shag-hair carpet,
They hump and moan like a dirty limerick.
The shade is drawn, the door double-locked.
Their bodies race from one till two o'clock.
"THERE ARE NO UMBRELLAS IN HELL," HE SAID
"There are no umbrellas in hell," he said,
And charged away from me into the rain,
A bum with a bag for a coat, and pain
Enough for a hat which fit his bruised head.
"There is nothing can fend off punishment
For sinning," I said to myself with less
Colorful wording. But the images
The bum conjured rained through my mind's vent.
For though I stood dry under an awning,
I felt the storm pelting the derelict man
Endlessly, relentlessly, as he ran
Through the empty streets, spouting his warning,
As if it was he who years ago buried
His guilt and his crime in a grave outside town
And the sentence waiting for me underground
Bore his soul's name to one night be ferried.
NOT EVERY COUPLE
Not every couple on the street sleeps together,
Though to the single, wandering pedestrian,
Every man walking with a female companion
Smiles as if boasting that he woke up beside her,
Making the lone stroller even more lonesome.
But odds are the couple is just sister and brother,
Or co-workers dissing their anal employer,
Or two fools on a date they wish they hadn't gone on.
Half the time one's in love, the other far from it,
Or they're simply one another's platonic friend.
The guy might be gay, the woman a lesbian.
It's easy to find pain, harder to expunge it.
Solitude, if left alone, rarely will fester.
Not every couple on the street sleeps together.