Welcome all. This is the inaugural post on our brand, new blog dedicated to Obscura, the Lehman College art and literary magazine. We will be posting one poem a week from our magazine archives, along with a short account of what we love about the poem. Please send in your submissions for the 2014 edition!
The poem I’ve chosen is Mary Ann Castle’s “Kingsbridge, The Bronx, Late 1960s.” I love the mystery of this poem. It adeptly tells a story without the need for specifics. We don’t know who the doomed man is, nor anything about the history of his circumstances. A crisp portrait emerges via sharply contoured images. The mood says it all.
Kingsbridge, the Bronx, late 1960’s—for Red Lee, who lived on our streets
by Mary Ann Castle
Don’t leave me to die on these broken city steps,
no one ever passes this way at night.
Don’t leave me here with
hardened eyeballs staring out at the El.
What if Kathleen comes by in the morning?
She’ll see me sprawled like
frozen fish in the window of Joe’s store.
Cold, so cold,
I can no longer tell if I am breathing.
Take me to my sister’s house,
where the ice can melt from my grey beard–
or soon, the morgue.
Carried by the wind,
the stench of my death will soon spread everywhere.