Here’s the last published poem by late Brooklyn poet laureate, Ken Siegelman, who died on Friday at his home in Gravesend.
Somewhere in mid adolescence, I filled the silence
Of this empty house with a scratchy edginess
Sparking the first intrusions of a panic sweat.
The pines thickening at dusk set the stage
For a thousand murder mysteries where killers
And assassins lay in wait as my first few
Lines flutter into a black hole where I knew
A full house audience was supposed to be
Hiding in the anonymity of the abyss;
Just beyond the orchestra and umbra of the
Floor stage lights…
Up to a point I could transcend all
The ill-tempered husbands whose wives
Had dragged them out,
Just to dry off in a theater
With chaffing thighs and soaking socks…
Women who were stood up on a date,
Predisposed to seeing each male role
As the voice of thoughtless scoundrels
Who never returned after going out
To buy a pack of cigarettes…
And then there were the critics
Who would safely take their stabs
Thrusting with the peevishness of small minds
Bent on, strangling anyone in sight.
Those who realized they could never write
A play or poem, or watch a hero levitate
From a chaotic character who seemed to die off
In the second act.
Best to preempt the dusk with orange-amber porch lights
Napalming biting fleas and fierce mosquitoes
Blinding those who take the first dibs
On ending one’s lonely life.