Two Poems by Linda Lerner

The System

 I walk down hallways between sentences
navigate my way carefully around thick paragraph walls
one of the ‘and others’ in memos
the ones out of the system we are in:
the part time  temporary  easily expendable ones
who do the same work for less pay

we are the ones who jumped without parachutes
into the workplace of America
see the skies past rules  break the infinitive
and leap into the unpermitted
those who follow their gut:  for that
there’s no forgiveness

I think of weeds, the ground cover
providing food and nourishment for the soil
when one flowers like the real thing it is
just weeds they say without looking

I’ve walked naked thru decades–
look, here in my book   in this magazine
show them what I’ve done

someone reminds me of a  due date
penalties to be paid


A day like any other in downtown Brooklyn–

Nov. 17, 2011

the usual lunch hour crowds  searching for what
to put between two pieces of bread,
make it thru the rest of this cold, rainy Thursday
another week without being laid off,
look for a sale to wrap around  frustrations
of never having enough, foreclosed
lives caught in  some invisible mud slide who may or
may not have heard rumors of an angry crowd
convening  on Wall street, major traffic
disruptions they’ll cause, and if while
heading to the gym, school, their usual appointments
think about it all, it’s to  get home without any  trouble
caused by those  building levees to halt the slide


2 Responses to “Two Poems by Linda Lerner”

  1. Linda Lerner was born and educated in New York City; Her most recent collection, Takes Guts & Years Sometimes, was just published by New York Quarterly Books June, 2011.
    She’s previously published thirteen collections of poetry. The most recent: Something Is Burning In Brooklyn (2009, Iniquity Press/ Vendetta Books) Living In Dangerous Times (Presa Press, 2007) and City Woman (March Street Press, Fall, 2006, both Small Press Reviews’ Picks). Two previous collections also had that honor; she’s been nominated twice for a pushcart prize. In 1995 she and Andrew Gettler began Poets on the Line, ( the first poetry anthology on the Net for which she received two grants.
    She’s published in the New York Quarterly, Onthebus, Louisiana Review, Paterson Literary Review, Ragged Lion Anthology, Chiron Revie, Danse Mcabre, Tribes, Van Gogh’s Ear, Home Planet News, New Verse News, Rusty Truck, She has read widely across the United States

  2. Once again, Linda strikes home. loved the phrase “around thick paragraph walls”

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