Joel Lewis

The Audible Suburbs

for Mary Ann Simet

Nothing's more embarassing than hearing
someone play the Sonny Rollins songbook
on an untuned zither
beneath the cheap utopia
of a clear summer sky.

No dark proxy could fathom that
brittle threshold of pain.
Better to measure the white-lines
of Jersey's roads, where nothing
stays whole—not even bananas.

So I recline, like some rheumy pensioner
in our ageless grey state & I claim this
sinking word as non-stop home:
Bluestone cliffs, bottom dog huts,
charmed Greek diners.
And it still thrills me to think
of impending night—the empty Maxim jars,
lonely radios & cable strands woven
into the wilted sky.

Two hours across time zones
& expecting you hatless,
asleep inside the Holland of your mind.
Dear Friend, mute & industrious, this half
of my infidel sandwich is yours.

We don't need all those glances at our past
to negotiate separate curves of daylight,
All the Marvels are here now, as I write,
in these real, terrible, beautiful days,

Copyright 1992, Joel Lewis

Joel Lewis lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, birthplace of baseball (REALLY) and
Frank Sinatra. His books of poetry include House Rent Boogie (Yellow Press, 1992)
and Palookas of the Ozone (Small Press Distribution, 1992). He also edited Bluestones
and Salt Hay: An Anthology of New Jersey Poets
(Rutgers University Press, 1990).
"The Audible Suburbs" is included in House Rent Boogie.

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Thematic Contents / Vol. 2, No. 2
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