June 10, 2017

Three Poems by Dr. Mel Waldman: "The Bird Woman of 57th Street," "Night People of New York," and "The Music of Trauma"

Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines including "Hardboiled Detective," "Espionage," "The Saint," "Pulp Metal Magazine," and "Audience."   His poems have been widely published in magazines and books including "Indiana Voice Journal," Liquid Imagination," "The Brooklyn Literary Review," "Brickplight," "Skive Magazine," and others.  A past winner of the literary Gradiva Awards in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in literature and is the author of 11 books.






THE BIRD WOMAN

OF

57TH STREET

(on reading Nikki Giovanni’s poem The New Yorkers)

In
the winter of despair,

I
retreat into the raw womb of the city circa 1969

&
gaze at a distant dark Manhattan of unfathomable bestial beauty

&
I see you again-

the old lady on 57th Street
sitting on a cold milk box selling papers,

you-
a grotesque beautiful Bird-Woman, the name I christened you,

rocking back & forth
staring out at us-the passers-by, with hallucinatory hypnotic eyes

invading
our psyches & shrieking the otherworldly sounds of an exotic bird.

You, the Owl-Lady too, the 2nd name I christened you,
own your little space-universe

&
wear colossal eyes black and eerie on a heart-shaped face that bore into my soul.

What do you see when you look inside me?

&
where do you go when you vanish suddenly in the swirl of the night?

Now,
when I see the night people, I remember you & the young man I was

&
the thoughts & dreams that possessed me when I passed by your eerie spot

or
stopped to buy your papers,

you-perched on a preternatural milk box.

For a few seconds, did you possess me?
Did we possess each other in the evanescence of our shared dream

before
vanishing into the fluid night flowing into 1st light?

In
the winter of despair,

when
I return, what do we see?




NIGHT PEOPLE
OF
NEW YORK
(on reading Nikki Giovanni’s poem The New Yorkers)

Come forth,
old children of the night,

Come forth,
beautiful freaks freaking out in the bestial light,

Come now,
into the cold night,

I
beckon you, the damned, drifting in the seething circles of darkness.

I
see only hellfire shooting out of the Shadows like the cannonballs of oblivion

blasting
through invisibility after a red sunset.

Night people of New York,
come forth

&
reveal your unfathomable selves buried in broken-down soul cases.

Come forth
& reveal the ineffable sins we conceal beneath our diaphanous skins.

Come now,
into the crimson night.

I
see you in the corner of my 3rd Eye clutching a cornucopia of non-existence

yellow-orange swirls
peering through the oval mirror of twilight & into the deep of the night

glazed eyes
rolling around in phantasmagorical spheres

glittering ghosts
slithering & slinking along the opalescent streets of Manhattan

&
now I feel you

creeping & crawling
across the olive skin of my trauma-covered face

seeking
the bleak landscape of the bereft

the graveyard
of my barren burnt-out brain cells

I feel the fire of your anguish,
you-

the homeless
huddled in nowhere

battered bag people
carrying death in a bag mixed with vanishing life-vestiges

you-
the swirling spirits frozen in unreality touch me & set me on fire

&
I feel you-

Come forth,
Come out,

I feel you
&

we are one
tethered to the night




THE MUSIC
OF
TRAUMA

Now,
in the ghetto

no time is sacred,
no time safe.

Death
comes now at 1st light & through the luminescence of day

flowing
into night

after dark
after light.

Death
comes, evil speaks

Brave one; listen to the rhapsody of death.
Pop, pop, pop in bestial hip-hop.

Gunshots shriek
& find the meek

pitch-black darkness
illuminated

&
life obliterated

sentenced
to otherworldly silence & mortal absence in the swirl of ethereal extinction

for
this is the time you taste the music of trauma

&
feast on fear.

This
is the time you bathe in crimson water

&
taste the underbelly of sin.

This
is the time you hear the eerily everlasting music drowning in the key of death.

This
is the time of the shattering

here,
inside the rhapsody & the requiem

&
a stranger sings of non-being

while
gunshots gut the grotesquerie of night & gallop into the deformity of day.

This
is the time to vanish in the music of trauma.

This
is the time to die & fly away.

(Previously published by "Two Drops of Ink" and "Mad Swirl.")





© Dr. Mel Waldman


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