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Poetry Magnum Opus

Corcoran Mewsings


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(Corcoran Mews was the first condo I lived at in DC.)



The alley was a street unto itself:

Neighbors would meet in the snow and the rain,

With their most eager and attentive dogs

Sometimes begging entry into your place;

The three-legged, glass-eyed, trans-gender cat

With the German name demanded his fare,

Along with a quick scratch and TV news;

The Laundry was an abomination,

Of course, even when it was found empty;

Its poetry cried out to be written.


Eleven neighbors in as many years,

The assumption was that Death would visit

--Does he ever stay?-- and that would be that.

There would be no new views nor address change,

Not even within the city's confines.

What would the unannounced tricks ever do

If an unfamiliar answered the door?

How far would their Spanish and their foreskin

Go with a straight guy who did not know that

Its poetry cried out to be written?


Where there was meter, oh!, there was magic;

Where there was safety, oh!, there was danger;

Where there was the memory of a name

It always came after introductions;

Where there was the memory of a face

That was enough for impropriety --

If the face was not otherwise engaged.

A move of continental proportions

Lasting less than a year could not refute

Its poetry cried out to be written.


Between two gay streets in the gayest part

Of the city's gayest enclave, the Mews

Saw its fire and flood, its famine and feast.

Marble, timber, and stone were never part

Of its facade, and perhaps that is why

No overnights turned into overmonths;

Or perhaps the sex was not good enough

To have justified a ten minute walk

To the place of someone who could but hear

Its poetry cried out to be written.

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Love it. Moved in/by/to. A stunning remembrance, it drips memory. The thru line is fantastic, and the confidence and placement of Oh would be lost to a lesser poet/poem. Very, very impressive...



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An intersting perspective from "the inside." I'm familiar with neighborhoods like this that usually, over time, become fashionable, gentrified by artists and moneyed patrons of the arts. In Boston, the neighborhoods that I think of when I read this are Jamaica Plain and the South End, both of which I'm familiar. Thank you for this poem. Most interesting.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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