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.


          Our bus whirled through the desert
          sighting only one boy
          standing by the highway
          not a parent or tent to be seen.

Now we lie on lounges
tended by towel boys,
whiff of charcoaled meat
cold drink in our hand
of imagination,
date palms like guardians
waving over us,
Sinatra, bossa nova
over the sound system,
behind us pool and
gaudy cabanas
as alternatives;

          before us swells the Med
          so blue
          as if anil dye was pumped through
          and waves of Phoenician
          Carthaginian, Greek triremes.


        (remembering Cavafy)

Of course, he walked to the post office every day,
waiting for his publisher’s check,
a beggar mutelessly hoping alms;
he sat on a bench
in the wrinkled white suit
not minding sun,
sometime coffee and croissant
enough to sustain.

Tide undulating onto the sand,
wind tousling the date palms
were his eternal theater;
that, and passing by
the muscled back,
the sinewy hand which gesticulates,
smooth profile of a young man
so much like a pretty girl,
weathered brows of those
who have seen too much.

Back in his room,
lone window facing rows of garbage cans,
he did not mind the heat he brought in with him
to press onto paper
to mold into books
that even in the dark seethed and perspired.


Yeats yearned to go
to the ideal place
“and live alone in the bee-loud glade.”
I too have found my eden
so I won’t mention where,

for who wants tourists
(as soon as Hemingway
sniffed one in his
newly found village,
he would move).

Here our house is wreathed
in anemone and narcissus
hyacinth and oleander
a palette of rose-rouge-orange
which paints the walls
inside and out.

We have our olive tree too
our “nurse” who attends all
providing oil for light
oil for cooking
and a delicious fruit.

The day is filled with
books and letters
gazing and drowsing
talks, walks, swims, love . . .
what else for a human being.

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

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