Susana H. Case


              after Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Sometimes on the Q train, I’m tempted
to stay all the way to Coney Island,
the end of the line, commuters
clutching Starbucks cups
under cement skies, to where love is, where
I might walk barefoot on sand,
or eat Russian vareniki with fried onions,
watch the old people sun themselves
to crinkled ruin, semi-naked on a boardwalk
with too many nails
poking through rotten boards.
A metaphor for this world, and it’s hard
not to despair, even when the ocean rolls in,
the cathedral-like ocean,
this stretch of it that seems so alive,
so unlike the death scenes
in Goya’s The Disasters of War.

Goya never wrote about his intention
in making those prints.
What can artists and poets say except:
Look at what we’ve done in this world,
our Wonder Wheel of humanity,
ever sliding on the rails between hub and rim.

Susana H. Case is the author of seven books of poetry. Dead Shark on the N Train is due out in 2020 from Broadstone Books. Drugstore Blue (Five Oaks Press) won an IPPY Award in 2019. She is also the author of five chapbooks, two of which won poetry prizes, and most recently, Body Falling, Sunday Morning, from Milk and Cake Press. Her first collection, The Scottish Café, from Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. Her work has appeared in Calyx, The Cortland Review, Portland Review, Potomac Review, Rattle, RHINO and many other journals. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City.