LOCUSPOINT: New York City, April 30, 2011

Of the Big Apple, editor Sean Singer wrote, “To a first-time visitor to New York, our city is enormous, complicated, overwhelming, and palpitating with light and noise. Poetry is a contemplative and solitary activity, yet it thrives in New York City. In a place of 8 million people (only one and half million of whom live in Manhattan) there is a big population of poetry readers and an even bigger population of poetry writers. What New York has over many other places that gives an advantage to poets is its freedom of the mind, by which I mean a person is confronted with the world every second of the day here; you are forced to make decisions about who you are in relation to language, as each block often contains its own tiny world: a Korean deli, a Malian mosque, a Gujarati sandwich shop.”

Sean selected this poem called “VA Hospital” by Herbert Englehardt for this retrospective:

VA Hospital

Patience she says
As she shows fingernails so long
She must punch her computer keys
With a rubber-tipped pen

Patience she says
Wagging her green lacquered fingers
As she continues rapid-fire talk
With her son on her cell phone

Interrupting herself
She announces patience
No appointments for three weeks
The doctors are very busy

Join the quiet vacant-eyed
Patient veterans of America’s wars
Men run over by our own trucks
Ignored by overworked aides

Men in wheelchairs
Some without arms or legs or eyes
Heroes cowards
Ordinary soldiers

While she chatters

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