FALL 2009

Barry Wallenstein


Lines employing the word hereafter,
unsettle my stomach & lead to gas.
For example,
“Until we meet again ... in the hereafter.”
All the thrilling music around me pinches
on the word “here.” How in Magic’s name
can we be here once there

I tried to stare the grifter (call him preacher, thief, or
clown) down—
saying that the bit containing the word
after is apt, especially when prefaced by ever.
Then the heart pumps promise,
but with hereafter,
the mind spins on a pin.

Too many are approaching the gates,
some pulling themselves up by iron railings,
some just sailing by.
We miss every one.
Those of us still here are not missing;
though, many are lost—
you too preacher, one of the sorry sheep.

Barry Wallenstein is the author of five collections of poetry; a new book, Tony’s World, is due out early next year. A special interest of his is presenting poetry readings in collaboration with jazz. His latest recording, Euphoria Ripens [Cadence Jazz] was listed among the “Best Jazz Recordings of 2008” in AllAboutJazz magazine.



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