New York in Winter

New York in Winter

Saturday, October 22, 2016


I wrote this poem with terrible rawness of emotion. It was around 1993 or '94. 

My daughter, Julia, was in one of the worst phases of her schizophrenia. Her illness had driven a wedge between my wife and me; Marcia felt destroyed and was unable to accept Julia's reality at all. I was struggling to find some grace in the situation. I was under no illusion that it would somehow all work out for the best. Illusions were broken on a daily basis, and dreams took a dive from the church tower.

I thought this was the worst pain I could know. I didn't know anything. 


Redemption works    
Works the rougher neighborhoods     
Lives on food stamps and disability      
I see her muttering in the aisles       
I see her making signs    
Inexplicable signs that scare the clerks
Signs that abort their ridicule

I'll tell you something terrible       
I've been redeemed  
Redeemed as much as I can stand     
Redeemed because I watched      
The moon rise cracked
I dread new cycles of redemption      
Like chemotherapy or the dumbshow   
Put on by stroke victims 

Facts declare there is no solace   
No none under this deaf moon
I say Don't redeem me   
I refuse to pay the price      
As if I had some choice     
Let me slide slide deeper into my Pit      
Into the Sheol below all liberation
Let me taste the cold Rock  
Let it smash my selfish memories 
Where they were conceived  
And grew like ignited poppies.

(You turn your face away
Let her search for butts alone 
Muttering and filthy
Down the scuffed aisles of minimarts
I feel sorry for her you say  
But it's her life and these       
Days it's all I       
Can do to to to)      

Your face will never   
Your heart will never      
Ask who will redeem your redeemer
My unconscious my insane   
Redeemer you Julia you    
The daughter who failed me      
And strangled the idol of your promised face    
You the sacrificed
The sign of my Favor.