Before the South End had been gentrified
and not a single latte had been brewed
on Tremont Street’s still raffish, dodgy side
there was, on Union Park, an interlude
of wanton joy we later saw collapse;
a brief, Edenic interval of grace
before the second-hottest guy at “Chaps”
bore lurid lesions on his handsome face,
and soon, in weeks too sickeningly swift,
required ― at thirty ― that bony white cane.
Six short months and his mind began to drift,
in gaunt, enfeebled, piteous waves of pain.
We soon, alas, grew used to sights like this,
the idyll having changed to an abyss.
“1980” by Mitchell Geller. This sonnet was previously published in Desert Moon Review and Sonnetto Poesia.
It was one of the winning poems on IBPC: Interboard Poetry Community: Winning poems for February 2008.
Felda Brown of IBPC has this to say about this sonnet, “When a sonnet is good, it holds in a great deal of passion, using the struggle of the lines to keep it from flying apart in anguish. Here is a poem, maybe the only one like this I’ve seen, that eulogizes the “Edenic interval” before AIDS began its rampage in the gay communities. The voice in the poem is authentic, the language interesting (“Tremont Street’s raffish, doggy side”) and sometimes perfect–“that bony white cane.” Although the couplet feels weaker than the rest, the end-rhymes “like this” and “abyss” do exactly what they need to do, pull us into the darkness.”
Mitchell Geller (1951— ) is a poet and essayist. Born and raised in Greater Boston, where he still resides, he has a BA in English Literature, and did his graduate studies in Children’s Literature. His work has appeared in The Melic Review, Sonnetto Poesia, WORM, The Loch Raven Review, Umbrella and 14 x14. In 2009 his poem “Monarch Nmemonic” won the annual New England Shakespeare Festival Sonnet Competition.
This sonnet is pre-published with the permission of the Editor-in-chief from:Richard Vallance, editor-in-chief. The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes: Anthology of sonnets of the early third millennium = Le Phénix renaissant de ses cendres : Anthologie de sonnets au début du troisième millénaire. Friesen Presse, Victoria, B.C., Canada. © 2013. approx. 240 pp. ISBN Hardcover: 978-1-4602-1700-9 Price: $28.00 Paperback: 978-1-4602-1701-6 Price: $18.00 e-Book: 978-1-4602-1702-3 Price: TBA
300 sonnets & ghazals in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese & Persian. Selected sonnets are pre-published by our permission in Poetry Life & Times (UK) which has exclusive sole rights prior to the publication of the anthology itself. Readers may also contact Richard Vallance, Editor-in-Chief, at: [email protected] for further information. http://vallance22.hpage.com/