Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Jersey

manahawkin lass –
she throws th’sand off her blanket
in just such a way

manahawkin dunes –
her towel hung ‘n th’grasses, she
weighs th’value ‘f travel


sinatra’s milieu
th’block, it seems, still in th’fifties,
‘n’ sweat ‘n th’stubborn collars

seaside lifeguard's one
problem - girlfriend's lasagna's
not quite up to mom's

they c’n lie ‘n’ steal, says th’bik’r,
make th’holl’nd tunn’l commute longer,
lost my vote f’rever

in millionaire's porsche,
you'd think 'tlantic city'd shine
on fourth - it doesn't

old bench, deep cut park,
overtaken by wildflow’rs
good combination

hoboken summers -
tight families, no place to hide -
you'd be crooning too

lost in north jersey
everything’s going t’ th’city
‘cept th’roadside wildflow’rs

august, jersey turnpike
being th’wise guy, tells th’off’cer
grandmother’s in th’trunk

th’fury, th’trunk open –
in th’heat, th’officer’s dropped th’socks
on th’jersey turnpike

island beach state park
full most hol’days, ‘n’ you’re alone
with what’s left ‘f your pride

hoboken yacht club –
humor on th’ferry they need
while penn station’s closed

lost ‘n th’maze ‘f interstates –
b‘side th’north jersey cloverleaf,
monarch ‘n th’wildflowers

lavallette beach homes -
for these folks, ‘til labor day
for her, they’re forever

grandma’s made th’pasta -
they stop t’see th’guy she’s met on
ocean avenue

all ‘f august, see’t coming,
th’day thousands go back t’th’city
some we wish would stay

commutes from middletown
even on fine august nights,
she plans by th’traffic

traffic, middletown,
th’city, august weekend eve –
just isn’t worth it

acrid stench, 'nother truck
stripped - steamy sunday morning
on the garden state

bumper to bumper,
top down through bay head sea breeze -
labor day mem'ries

up through asb’ry park
stuck ‘n labor day traffic, points
t’where he first saw bruce

lavallette houses
only some are still lived in
from labor day on

up ‘n’ down th’jersey shore,
he says, th’towns had their thousands –
look how empty now

library perched high
on rock cliff above highway-
gold leaves, dark tunnel

leaves ‘f manahawkin,
chill wind at th’beach – none ‘f th’old friends
even think ‘f leaving

weehauken cliff leaves
fall into th’tunnel traffic –
should’ve stayed ‘t th’library

clerk with th’giants hat
if they’re young ‘n’ pretty, likes t’read
their i d caref’lly


caught ‘n th’giants traffic –
rutherford sunset, ‘n’ frost on th’bogs,
all stuff y’get used to


sixty three pounds ‘f meth,
brought t’south amboy one fall day
thought no one’d notice

hackensack sunset –
diesel fumes on th’meadowlands,
game traffic slows t’ crawl

bagel, lox 'n' coffee -
at yom kippur, grim resolve
t'face jersey city

pollution sunset
frames giants traffic, wasteland -
what's this 'garden state?'

hackensack waitress -
her fam'ly's turkey 'n' gossip,
she'd die without it

she makes ‘r own pasta –
he comes t’grandma’s, jersey shore,
ev’ry thanksgiving

cold city, sea ‘f lights –
th’only break, eighty crosses
th’hackensack river

before y’go back t’th’city,
one more campfire, th’gentle sounds
‘f th’del'ware water gap

black coffee ‘n’ wood smoke
at th’delaware water gap
tomorrow, times square

near th’park place street sign,
th’guy ‘n th’old blanket reminds them
how it feels t’lose big

sinatra’s home turf,
amazing, local boy’d leave –
she watches her breath


bruce ‘n th’caddy stereo –
even with th’roads clear, th’brick lass
won’t go to th’city

signs for hoboken,
vast wetlands ready to freeze -
diesel cloud sunset

delaware water
gap's winter wooded stillness-
this is new jersey?

george washington bridge –
snow ‘n’ ice, but th’city’s behind him
‘n’ there’s a full tank ‘f gas

burlington farmhouse
guest bed creaks - yule secrets
'f quaker ancestors

atlantic city -
hear lu's story at new year:
died at slot machine

ventnor avenue –
tales of new years gone by, th’mob,
‘n’ what it’s done t’ th’city

blizzard ‘n brick township
how well folks can get along
when th’ocean’s ‘n turmoil

lavallette beach homes,
ocean, sand against their fence –
winter’s best, he says

warm dark eyes, fur hood -
she tries hard to imagine
life b'yond paramus

on th’bridge ‘t seaside heights,
crashing tide, unr’lenting sea –
th’snow, too, clouds th’vision


pile-up ‘n weehauken
snow ‘n’ ice ‘n’ that heavy traffic,
stop too quick ‘t th’tunnel

garden state turnpike
window down, february
another car stripped

boyfriend’s kind ‘f jealous –
‘t’s valentines, ‘n’ she finds th’exit
f’r th’garden state turnpike

jersey's image falls -
in march squall, a cowboy finds
turnpike restrooms locked

bus from oranges -
holland tunnel, knicks final,
they go dutch on fares

gardens ‘f morristown
work in th’city, value th’times
they c’n leave it behind

deli ‘n edison
savor th’plate ‘f hamantaschen,
but dread th’horseradish

jalalabad mosque
frets ‘bout th’parking, ‘n th’hot june night
got t’protect your cars

camp, dunes ‘f egg harbor
beach plum, morning companion,
coffee ‘gainst th’sea spray

pinelands bell flower
so proper, ‘n’ fine-looking, but
strong enough f’r jersey

tough enough f’r trenton,
caught off guard ‘n th’barrens – whole field
‘f pinelands bellflower

deli’s best reuben –
princeton grads talk ‘bout staying
out ‘f th’city’s orbit

by th’jersey roadside,
he sees why th’wildflow’rs like it
just outside th’city


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