Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #6                        Page 63
Table of

The lady in 4C

Now you see, they said

I saw a cat leap off the top of

things piled to the ceiling

I saw another pile

she had to climb to reach her bed

each night, saw the dirt layered sink

and loose wall sockets

faucets she forgot to shut off

leaking complaints sent back up

from the tenant below, and

when a box propped against

the fridge to keep it closed, didn’t

and workmen wouldn’t go in there to

fix anything, she turned down

the landlord’s offer to pay

a cleaning crew to come in, and

later his ten-grand to move out…

now you see, they said

I saw their fear that went beyond being

trapped in a fire or asphyxiated by gas

because of one woman whose

eyes spoke conversations

I could see in eyes that didn’t always

see me, a woman like I am who lives

in the 9—5 margins and isn’t me

who gets by singing in Village cafes

reading to a blind woman, wears what

can be found on the street,

sometimes I’d see her carrying out

a small garbage bag,

I’m doing what I can, she said

we all are, I answered

this woman who’d become the

sheltering wall from what those

who’d lived in the same building for

over thirty years felt helpless against:

fear of ever being homeless of losing it

not being able to get out of bed one day

and make a cup of coffee when even

breathing might become too much: fear

that their world the only world they know

could abruptly end

Now you see, they chanted

  Linda Lerner __
To a Poet Who Sentences Herself

unable to break free of the period
rush out of breath down the page into
whatever crazy weather happens as when
a child she ran through Whitman’s grass
before her mother stopped her
and stopped her again and she learned
to stop herself…a woman who’s flown
across two continents, spent a year abroad
can’t move out of the sentence
she paces back & forth in every day
trying to shut out free spirit jazzy sounds
coming through but habit and the
man playing them lead her to briefly
venture past the period, toward him
for whom getting the sound is everything
his habit, beside the point, hers
the point itself

  Linda Lerner__
©CTvM: Big Yellow Flight, angel object 1988