Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt has lived in New England, the West Indies, and along the Eastern Shore. He has written short stories, essays, and poetry which have been published across the U.S. in periodicals as diverse as America, English Journal, and Joseph Conrad Today.

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won the Anthony Byrne Prize. He was also the editor of the magazine General Eclectic. A teacher for many years Ray Greenblatt has taught writing in the Philadelphia Writers Conference as well as spoken at the John Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California.

 
ON THE BEACH AT PIRAEUS

Garlic mixes with salt air,
gulls cry with pots and pans;
fishing boats bow and curtsy
like giving bright birthday boxes.
A Greek woman ambles
on the sand letting
the wind comb her hair;
she walks down the beach
thinking a man follows
and should she let him catch up;
but only a cloud shadow
brushes past to evaporate
behind distant dunes.

 
CINQUE TERRE

Like fools
we rode the trains back & forth
through mountains bordering the sea
all day, hopping off
to straggle down a street
then hop back on again,
nipping from our bottles
that no one seemed to mind,
starting to recognize people
who seemed to be on real business.
We watched water far below
which flung foaming currents in
to carve boulders into art,
then gazing high up we spotted
warm lights in houses
perched on the cliffs.

It was cold in mid-March
the sky was dimming
hunger came down on us
like the blackest cloud
like a crustacean with claws
tearing at our entrails.
The one among us who spoke Italian
said he remembered a good trattoria
in Riomaggiore,
we found it closed up tight
its wooden door depressingly plastered
with circus flyers from the last season
now warped in spattering rain.

Suddenly before us a mirage
that rarely comes to undeserving tourists:
in Monterosa
an open ristorante
smiling waiters, warm fireplace
we smiled back, at each other
thawed, expanded
made lame but gentle jokes
shrimp-lobster-squid-mussels-fish
all on one huge sumptuous platter,
then we trained back to where we had come from.

 
WHY IS IT

in this cold stricken region
where earth knows no evenness
where wind knows no tenderness
I think of tall cedars
upright as steeples
of olive trees gnarled–
an old duenna leaning over
to spy on a dreaming couple.

I still dream of you
in warm fragrant groves
in caressing air
a beauty so stunning
it remained in a chamfered chest–
and I could not find
the magic phrase . . .

 
For other contributions by Ray Greenblatt, please follow the links below:

 
All poems on this post: © Ray Greenblatt
Published with the permission of Ray Greenblatt