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.

Poems below from Ray Greenblatt’s book: Leavings of the Evening


They stood around
          in evening dress
          so many vampires
his eyes burnt out cinders
          black lace grappling her throat
in absolute silence
          if a broach dropped
no bony fingers rolled the bones
          they watched the wheel whirl
indifferent to fate
          insulated by their wealth
not a feint
          nor a twitch;
if it had been in Vegas or A.C.
dyed blondes would have screeched
          when three lemons aligned.


It is cool inside
the house on stilts,
the stereo soft
the toast warm and
orange juice chilled.
The man in bright t-shirt
and crisp shorts
pads down the steps to the beach
that is flat and blazing white
like fresh baked bread
to where the water curls up the sand,
unlike the Cyclades
where fractured columns
more than two millennia old
lie in tide pools
and a stone tower scans
for a phantom fleet of sails.
But here are only
some reeds swaying
a seagull
a white cap far out.
Here the beach seems new
as if it had been swept of history
and only trembles where to start.


The market street along the wharfs
contains all the symbols
you will ever need—
chickens hanging by a leg,
piles of dates like innards,
chips of semi-precious stones
so old no names remain,
the eternal hookah.
You stand on a roof
hands on hips
in trivial defiance,
buildings crowding round
silent their dark square eyes.
When you corkscrew
down a street into alley
after narrowing alley
as it grows darker and darker
unanswered questions teem.
Then explode into
absolute sunlight of a square
solutions hovering
but you are blind in scalding air.
The pulsing tongues
of shrouded women in sorrow,
the recorded, never-hesitating call
of treetop muezzins,
their language yours.
I have never been to Casablanca
I view it through a glass pane
by book or painting or moving picture.
The tectonic plate of sky
slides smoothly by
the matching blue plate of sea.

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

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