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.


The hostel is right on the beach
but the water is too close,
its constant movements tantalize
with its green spangles and ivory froth,
people in poses
who don’t stir in the sun,
sometimes I feel I can walk
on the bottom of the sea.

Wine so good and cheap
it becomes a meal,
yet after the coastal clubs close
and the last scooter putts away,
strips of crepe hang limp
paper lanterns like blackened orbs
swaying in alley breezes,
I creep back to the house
night sky as wide as God’s mouth.

          But the waters sneak into rooms
          and whisper foreign phrases to me,
          liquid paws leaving imprints
          as if an unaccounted
          person roamed among us.

The two Australians leave tomorrow
and the Swede with the notebooks,
down at the harbor sailors
talk of phantom ships slipping in
to deposit immigrants,
so I must toss off this lovely lethargy
and decide what to do
before I’m displaced.


Dreaming about warm kisses
beneath the olive trees,
I heard strange sounds
streaming from a white-domed house
on top of a hill.

A French woman rented there
to practice her ancient songs,
she showed me lute and recorder
sackbut and shawm,
her slim limbs leaning
into the instruments.

On her forehead the V
of a frown could instantly
alter to a white grin,
her name I soon discovered
was Orphee.


I have lost my clothes here,
I am naked, the constant
white walls, broiling sand strips me,
the sun grows octopus arms.

          I crawl into myself
          in my darkened room,
          into a cool version
          of my self where I
          can see, breathe, think again.

                    How can I stroke the view
                    of three horizontal blues,
                    but open a window
                    a crack and a square
                    eye of light fixes me,
                    questions my reason.

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

Poetry in this post: © Ray Greenblatt
Published with the permission of Ray Greenblatt