Poetry by Lydia Suarez

Ode to Northern New Jersey

Along the turnpike, refineries, gas tanks with spiral stairs cases, poles jutting from sludge ponds, landfills that

exit to scarred palisades, leaning luxury towers, asbestos shingled row houses, brownstones,

two-family boxes with balconies and brown brick buildings with bomb shelter signs and

bolted Helvetica placards that warn NO sitting, standing, soliciting, ball playing.

Ramps to rutted roads where dump trucks with tarps that blow like the American flag spit pebbles at windshields and pass

a pure white egret in a marsh

who with each swallow shortens his life

in the shadow of cop cars

stalking under train trestles for people of color.

Among mayors who triple dip in jobs, who teach, coach, seduce and stumble in drunken brawls.

Who appoint presidents to boards with spit on their chin and atrophied minds and the power to anoint them as mayor,

who rely on committee people, neighborhood Gestapo who sell fund raiser tickets and steal time

to get out the vote for senators with cufflink collections and blind ambitions

who appropriate funds for buildings with commemorative plaques dedicated

to officials who dole out jobs to those who get out the vote, who vote early and often,

who get votes from the dead and the absent,

from seniors bussed after spaghetti dinners

from project folk for ten dollars disguised as cab fair.

Machines that can win a state for men who would rule the nation and the world while

town councils divvy out tax breaks to developers who return favors in cash,

for the rights to twenty first century gated communities,

over superfund sites covered by golf courses with six figure memberships and Scottish pretensions and

rear views of the statue of liberty that

sustain jobs for past their prime dig-mes who wear their grey hair like David Cassidy and

eat at restaurants where twin televisions suspended over the bar run ponies alongside jeopardy and

framed pictures of that show hang by a fake ficus in the entrance like a clean health report.

Local haunts where they never sit with their back to the entrance

and concentrate on specials recited by a waitress whose bells palsy has sculpted a beautifully deformed smile,

who plunks down grated cheese with the salad and serves appetizers to the wife

he met at the jersey shore on Memorial Day twenty years ago.

And she sits alone legs crossed fingering her ankle bracelet while he schmoozes with his buddies from the board of ed

sucking down pinot to look suave, assassinating characters and plotting who they can devour next like osso bucco while

she studies her French manicure till he returns and shoves a calamari rubber band into the hot sauce and

gets a spot on the pumas his spoiled son gave him for Christmas,

curses and taps to the sounds of Frank that emanate from the walls like a phantom.

After a couple of shots of sambuca he heads home to a split built on earth from pig farms,

drops her and drives to his girlfriends past

thirty movie screens and slinky style parking lots and a zillion feet of commercial lease space on a postage piece of land.

Ten exits south, a zealous prosecutor takes three years, a ream of paper and two mil to determine that

something is not on the level.

And in his report with roman numerals and appendices he recommends a second committee to investigate

and the members will be selected by the people

who make deals with men more corrupt than the devil

and the egret dives among petrified trees and weeps.


One response to “Poetry by Lydia Suarez

  1. If this is the Lydia Suarez who wrote A Single Night In Chelsea….I am a huge fan.

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