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His last poem was a classic • Brooklyn Paper

His last poem was a classic

Brooklyn's Poet Laureate Ken Siegelman
The Brooklyn Papers / Greg

Here’s the last published poem by late Brooklyn poet laureate, Ken Siegelman, who died on Friday at his home in Gravesend.

Stage Fright

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.

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