by Peter M. Gordon

Every day in my Brooklyn neighborhood
Grizzled men in skullcaps carried newspapers
Covered with mysterious runes

Sat on green wooden benches
Planted on concrete islands
Between lanes of broad boulevards

Holidays smelled of sauerkraut, boiled beef
Stale cigars
Sweet wine

Words fired over my head like missiles
I ducked under the sofa for cover

Harsh phrases erupted from pinched faces
Arcane curses flew from wrinkled mouths
Ancient relatives muttered the deep, secret language

Today I recline on plush chairs
In light airy rooms with high ceilings
Fresh tuna blackens on the grill

I play a CD filled with songs
In the mamaloshen
The mother tongue

Clarinets sigh
Bass throbs
Voices sing like a sob

Ghosts of sounds surround me
I touch the past but cannot translate it



Peter M. Gordon has worked as a theatre director, writer, teacher, television programmer, and producer. He always loved reading poetry, and began writing poetry a few years ago when an essay he was writing about his oldest son came out as a poem. He lives in Orlando, Florida, where he’s a member of the First Monday Poetry Group. Peter’s poems most recently appeared in 34th Parallel Magazine and in “Poetry to Feed the Spirit.” Peter also writes a content development blog: http://www.myprogramidea.blogspot.com