Expansive Poetry & Music Online Contemporary Reprint

Wade Newman

Wade Newman is a poet, critic and a successful businessperson in New York. Newman, who has appeared in over fifty journals, is author of Testaments from Somers Rocks Press. A poet of considerable range, whether in meditations on the complications of love or in narratives set in the past, Newman coined the term Expansive Poetry.

"Dinosaurs in the Park" was originally published in Croton Review.  It is 
reprinted by permission of the author.  Not for commercial or other

Copyright (c) 1996 by Wade Newman

Descended to ground level
From your mother's dying body,
I collect you from your patient vigil
In the hospital's noisy lobby,
Where the arthritic woman I asked to mind you
Holds your soft cheek to her sagging bosom.

Like a carriage bar her thin arms brace you.
I whistle once and you shed her prison,
Oblivious that for two whole hours
She was your guardian, you her treasure.
The stand-up ash tray accepts your collision,
Shakes like her wrinkled hand waving farewell.
Between the sweat of your mother's labor
And the sour smell of my last breath,
You run on the carpet to your rightful parent.

I carry you down the icy steps,
And wade us through the slush-furrowed street
Across to the park smothered white with snow.
"Like Eskimos," we grab a handful and eat.
On the bench by the pond I will tell you all:
That your mother's doctor can't make her well,
That she misses you more than you miss your cartoons,
That I break each time I close her door.
"My son," I begin, but "Look!" you yell,
And trudge away toward the dinosaurs.

No French cave paintings or movie reflections,
But big as life two mammoth snow sculptures
Fill the space between a few leafless trees.
Where last summer we watched you overrun this place
Today Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex
Command the jungle gym, seesaws, slide and swings.
Those monsters, abandoned to stand and melt,
Naturally gape at you as you at them
As with every step you become the measure
Of modern man to your pet frog's ancestors.

Suddenly you hesitate, as if sensing
The distance between me, your protector,
And the unknown animals growing in stature.
Like an army Sergeant I shout, "Go on,"
And comb the park for addicts, psychos, punks and bums.
Day turns to dusk. You turn and charge.

The Thunder-Lizard is the first you attack.
Primeval stoic, he accepts your kicks
Against his slabs of legs. Your snowballs pound a behemoth back
You carefully climb by way of his tail.
Instinctively, you master the beast
And as you ride him cowboy style, cry, "Look at me, Daddy,
I'm on top of it." From our meager fossils
Will Earth's future archaeologists
Reconstruct your play, or the evening
Your father rested on a bench and prayed?

When I look up again, you seem farther away
Than the evening your mother and I were wed
Or the night you added your helpless shriek
To a planet already crowded with cries.
Tired of your docile friend, you approach
The other monster with a branch for a spear,
Slowly circling the whiplash tail, the bone-
Crushing haunches, the dwarf arms still long enough
To snatch a child. Again you charge.

As if by magic, the street lamps click on,
Illuminating a sharp-toothed grin
That answers your innocent shenanigans.
At once you scream for me and run,
Trailing footprints of a tiny creature
Across the millennia to my trembling arms.
       Wade Newman

Don't miss Wade Newman's fine chapbook, Testaments, available from Somers Rocks Press, c/o Arthur Mortensen, 505 Court Street, #4N, Brooklyn, NY 11231, available for $4 plus $2.00 S&H and any appropriate taxes (NY 8.25%)

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