Statues - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Statues

He sits like one of the park’s statues,
knit cap pulled down to his eyes,
blanket tugged up to his mouth,
five rotten teeth his most memorable feature.
I put a dollar in the cup.
read the statue’s cardboard plaque,
memorializing Marine Corps
battles in Vietnam.

Name’s Walt, but they call me Reds,
came to NYC for a woman.
lived in Baltimore once, too,
ran adult bookstores,

Everybody wants to leave here now,
it’s not the same, he says.
Is Polock Johnny’s still there?

Take care of yourself, I say.

Women’s Rights are Human Rights
proclaims the smooth banner,
purple, green and gray,
strung across the wall,
The Society for Ethical Culture,
33 Central Park West.

Forty or fifty paces past
the society’s somber stone,
past women’s rights and ethics,
One Central Park West,

Trump Tower.

My Brooklyn-born woman was here yesterday
International Women’s Day,
loving the cabbies,
men like her father,
waving, leaning on horns,
encouraging hundreds who chanted,
“We are the popular vote!”

Jose Marti astride a surging steed,
glimmering in ebony,
dominating nags and buggies,
teamsters below,
inviting tourists to
hallucinate themselves into royalty.

Etched in Jose’s stone:
defender of human dignity,
literary genius vying with political
foresight, lived in exile,
fifteen years in New York City.

Across from the statue and the nags,
106 South Central Park Drive,
Trump Parc,
Trump International Realty.

A selfish man is a thief,
wrote the poet, Marti.

I return to my hotel,
pondering
exile,
Polock Johnny’s,
rotten teeth,
Vietnam,
the popular vote,
The thief.

Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Eden, Janine and Jim: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edenpictures


About the author

Len Shindel

Len Shindel began working at Bethlehem Steel’s Sparrows Point Plant in 1973, where he was a union activist and elected representative in local unions of the United Steelworkers, frequently publishing newsletters about issues confronting his co-workers. His nonfiction and poetry have been published in the “Other Voices” section of the Baltimore Evening Sun, The Pearl, The Mill Hunk Herald, Pig Iron and other publications. After leaving Sparrows Point 11 years ago, Shindel, a White Marsh resident and grandfather of seven, began working as a communication specialist for an international union based in Washington, D.C. He enjoys frequent weekends in Garrett County, cross-country skiing, kayaking, hiking and fly-fishing. Contact the author.
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