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What All the Songs Add Up To: Poems

What All the Songs Add Up To: Poems

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What All the Songs Add Up To: Poems

118 pagine
42 minuti
Jun 1, 2016


A collection of poems covering the past 40 years chronicling life in the East Village of Manhattan.
Jun 1, 2016

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What All the Songs Add Up To - Greg Masters


This Week in Baseball

Mélido Pérez, still looking strong

in the 6th inning, gives up a

three-run shot to Juan Gonzalez

quieting the pennant-fevered stadium

On the replay we see

Rangers, reacting to the crack of

the bat, stepping up out of the

dugout, not to see if

but how far


It’s nothing specific.

It’s the accumulation

like a recipe.

The way the ingredients

affect each other and

make the whole.

It’s a changing whole.

Not even a snapshot

stops it.

It’s only a part

taken up in the momentum

of the instants gathered.

Maps help only in the particulars.

I’m vaguer than that.

The calendar doesn’t gauge

the yearning to contain

more than the information

and pleasures and pains

of passing days.

I want it tidy

like compacted trash.

All the fibrillations

answering the breezes.

Voices echoing, footsteps

solid against the floorboards.

It’s in the air

that immeasurable substance

alien and benign

enveloping, porous and peculiar.

A pigeon on the windowsill

we push a piece of strawberry

out to, a three-year-old and I.

You’d be so nice to

come home to, a lyric

suddenly played back on my

inner frequency.

Birds singing, that’s been good.

My friend next door on

hearing me home knocks to

borrow bleach for an ink stain

on a new white blouse.

Maybe it’ll work, I hope so,

I doubt it, good luck, it didn’t.

This is a summation of its parts.

That indefinable but urgent

broadcast of convergences.

There it is.

Exactly as it has to be.

Who am I to interfere?

Tiny Portraits

Dutch Treat

Marjolein, not so sure of

her English, calls from Holland

to ask: Do gulls glide

or sail in the air


New File Cabinets

I’m getting myself organized,

I tell Nellie. You’re

always getting yourself

organized, says Nellie.


Be kinder to yourself

I just said at the kitchen

table to myself


Minor Bus Disaster

Nellie, I’m so sorry

I told you to go up to

14th Street to get the M1 Limited

It, in fact, stops at 9th Street

Where we were



What a great day

I had with Vyt

He’s the kind of person who

you realize later

has made you available to

stuff you might not

on a routine day

be so eager to

get connected to


A box of tea has disappeared

from my apartment

Look behind the stove,

says Lorna. She always

has answers. Not necessarily

to my questions.


These, my friends,

sustain me through the years.

Precious Gifts, Stolen Goods

I was standing far away from you

In a public place a public time

And I had to let you talk it up

With some certain friends of mine

I was held behind a wall of rules

That I found myself complaining to

Stopping me from going over there

And saying what I wanted to

I who never gave up beauty

Had to make it

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