P O E M Eleven years old, lost in Prospect Park
with my friend Alan Weberman, a beatnik
who doesn’t play stickball, stoopball, or shoot
water pistols but wears a French beret, black
turtleneck sweaters and bangs the bongos.
We’re trying to find a way out of a
585-acre urban wilderness in the
heart of deepest Brooklyn with
no maps, canteens, compass,
food or shining stars to guide us.
We’re far from Sol’s candy store
with its vanilla egg creams, chocolate
Clark Bars, Drake’s pound cakes,
cherry lime rickeys and long salted
pretzels in plastic see-through bins.
We’re far from the Patio Movie Theater,
with its double features, cartoons,
newsreels and a goldfish pond
in a beautifully tiled lobby to
throw pennies into.
We’re far from Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor with
its Kitchen Sink—a jumble of ice cream,
chocolate syrup, whipped cream, maraschino
cherries, and a hodgepodge of other things
that can serve up to six.
We’re far from the Empire Rollerdrome,
Ebinger’s Bakery, Erasmus Hall High School,
Freddie Fitzsimmons Bowling Lanes and
Ebbets Field, home of the ‘55 world champs,
’57 world chumps, who left Flatbush for LA.
We’re far from college, marriage,
work, retirement and a quiet
home in the country away from
the racket, hubbub and delight
of inner-city childhood life.
Martin H. Levinson is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, PEN, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. He has published nine books and numerous articles and poems in various publications. He holds a PhD from NYU and lives in Forest Hills, NY. martinlevinson.com