Living in the City

The cobblestone streets and sidewalks
were hard, with blood in the cracks.
Old buildings held the cries of mothers
and children, the laughter of immigrants.
It was the only world we knew and though rivers
ran below the rock palisades the earth had forgotten us
and we were left to fight it out beneath the streetlights.
Somewhere above the glare we believed there were stars,
that a moon still graced the sky, but we were looking down
and around the corner braced for the next raft of trouble.
Sometimes there would be songs on the corner
and girls in high heel shoes, their legs showing
beneath a red skirt, click click clicking for our attention.
We were desperate for love but usually settled for a brawl.
I remember all their names, their faces, wish I had been
a better friend, loved that girl a little stronger,
held her tighter until that pulse between our legs
could find the joy that only came at midnight.
Out of time’s cloud I hold them dear,
with all the faults of exiles in a stolen land,
wanting to go home, wanting to be loved,
wanting to live the one life we still could dream.





16 Responses to “Living in the City”

  1. David Banner says:

    “Wanting to live the one life we could still dream”….poignant, Mary Oliver-like (that is a high compliment!),,,,,bravo, Don…you have nailed the earthly experience of being in and of this world

  2. Eleanor Gill Milner says:

    This one reaches back into where you came from and touches the inner Don that I think you know the best. Well written and movingly real.

  3. Rose Meeker says:

    Poignant and expressive. Beautifully evoked.

  4. James says:

    Very compassionate and understanding poem.

  5. David Kyle says:

    Don, you evoked an incredible sadness in me. We all have this one dream that is beyond our individual histories. Thank you once again for peering into the heart of longing.

  6. Pichay says:

    I’ve got my notice, Graceland here I come.
    No taring over a life of adventure well lived.
    Cobblestones were tarmacked long ago.

  7. Tom Figel says:

    Don, this is poignant, true to many of us. The photo captures the thought, too. Thanks.

  8. Ravenstalk says:

    I “know” these words ~ Ghosts of a life once lived ~ Thank You ~

  9. jack says:

    did-a did-a WAAAA Ahhhh Ahhh AH WOP!

  10. Stan Grindstaff says:

    Earth earthy…

  11. Betty Doerr says:

    I remember that boy like it was yesterday, dear friend.

  12. Edward Haimes says:

    Dear Don,
    Exquisite poetry bringing worlds of memories to me growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950-60’s. Thank you.

  13. Marco says:

    I recognise my own reflections in so much you write in this poem oriented back toward your youth. Its melancholy, and lovely to cast back now with overwhelming compassion for ourselves, and all the actors who played a part. Which city did you grow up in?

  14. Maria Frid says:

    Tears for those who still face life in this manner and who yearn for home. Thank you!

  15. David Barnes says:

    Thank you Don, for these fierce and searing words. And so, let us let the reality of Home imbue a whole and holy earth – “a mansion in the boundless heavens, and a home among the stars”

  16. fred & ann says:

    Oh my gosh – now we are aware that South Bend rivals the Big Apple…..who knew? Go Buttigieg!

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