Winter 2001


Barry Wallenstein


just before the rain storm
up the street comes the hurdy gurdy -
colorful, it's all colorful
with a small grey monkey
grinding a red organ,
the handle is brass
and he - the monkey's a he -
i swearing orange gloves,
and his tin cup clinks the coins
given by merry makers on this day;

remember too,
during the flood tide
prior to recognition -
and you will recognize
everything -
there will be a dry place
for you to slip into
that will feel like years,
be like entering the kingdom of Fact
with noise and congratulations.

Remember, right after,
when you recall that citadel
with its vaulted ceiling and views
of rising waters out of prismed windows,
you were never in danger, my daugther.
That little monkey and his friend,
the hurdy-gurdy man, have eyes
with protective power - besides,
you move around too fast for danger.

Barry Wallenstein is the author of five books of poetry, the first being A Beast is a Wolf in Brown Fire (BOA Editions, 1977); the most recent is A Measure of Conduct (Ridgeway Press, 1999].  He teaches literature and creative writing at City College in New York where he is also the director of CCNY's Poetry Outreach Center.

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