A few poems came in the mail the other day from the poet Perry Brass in New York. It was his Christmas mailing. One of them really charmed me and I asked if I could post it here. He agreed and sent another poem he'd thought a too bleak for a Christmas mailing. I found it beautiful.
Here are two from Perry Brass, "Reagan or Hattie" and "For the bodies in Potters Field, New York." A Potter's Field is a burial place for the bodies of the unknown or the homeless.
Reagan or Hattie
I go to the post office
and ask the lady about 39-cent stamps
and she says, “We have two,
Ronald Reagan or Hattie McDaniel.”
“Reagan or Hattie?” I ask
and she smiles. “Odd choice, right?”
And I agree, but it makes sense;
and one young man with his small son smiles,
“A no-brainer,” and I nod. So we have
a brain-dead Prez and Mammy.
Odd but fitting, that Mammy
immortalized in Hollywoodiana
would make her post office appearance
especially when you consider how
straight-forward McDaniel was—
and good—in a way Reagan
For the bodies in Potters Field, New York
I would lift you up and give you names;
I would empty myself of mortality and status
and allow the blackest bread of compassion
to feed you, to warm you. You whisper
on the sandy shore of your little island,
and tell me about freezing nights, guns,
lost families, lonely corners, Christmas,
babies, festering sores, your souls
given the bargain of peace.
I will tell you nothing
but my name.
(c) Perry Brass