Late Night Poetry: April

I don’t — as you know, if you follow Late Night Poetry here at The Skinny (our motto: Sleep is IN this Spring) — I don’t post all that much truly really contemporary being-written-right-now poetry.

Partially it’s on accounta I’m out of the loop, and partially it’s because I am the sort who only reluctantly dwells in the internet age, and it sort of saddens me to see it referenced over-much.

Because, really: so much of life is trans-historical — loss, joy, triumph, collective experiences — and if only we will pay attention we can see past the how to the more important what. Or possibly, if we pause from all our posting, we might have some shot at figuring out why, while we are still around to do something with the information.

But this poem just glances at it. Plus, it references a stretch of land I know very well and which is under-rated here in NYC.  So what the heck. Here she goes.


By Alicia Ostriker

The optimists among us
taking heart because it is spring
skip along
attending their meetings
signing their e-mail petitions
marching with their satiric signs
singing their we shall overcome songs
posting their pungent twitters and blogs
believing in a better world
for no good reason
I envy them
said the old woman


The seasons go round they
go round and around
said the tulip
dancing among her friends
in their brown bed in the sun
in the April breeze
under a maple canopy
that was also dancing
only with greater motions
casting greater shadows
and the grass
hardly stirring


What a concerto
of good stinks said the dog
trotting along Riverside Drive
in the early spring afternoon
sniffing this way and that
how gratifying the cellos of the river
the tubas of the traffic
the trombones
of the leafing elms with the legato
of my rivals’ piss at their feet
and the leftover meat and grease
singing along in all the wastebaskets

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