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Leonard Gontarek: Coffee


For the young women going door to door, black dresses, fishnet stockings,

asking if we’ve thought about death on this beautiful fall Saturday.

For the light that has made it through the trees.

For the black coffee I drink from cracked Styrofoam.

For my neighbors settled on their steps, depressed.

For disembarking into a world of objects and calling bells.


Do you write political poems?

All poems are political.

To write a poem in these times is a political act.   Roberto Juarroz


When I come home to my cat, my heart gives me away.

I’m quiet, withdrawn, nervous. August and expected rain.

I’m not talking about poems about Afghanistan.

We need those. I mean, I ate this, I read that poems.

When one wants to lie down in the shadow of hawk and pine.

When one wants to look into death’s crossed eyes.

It’s cooler, now. When the wind is toying with feathers and petals.

copyright 2015 Leonard Gontarek


— Grand Central

11 comments on “Leonard Gontarek: Coffee

  1. Cassie
    August 11, 2015

    Awakening and consoling at once, like the black coffee and evening breezes that enclose this poem. It reminds me of something Seamus Heaney wrote about poetry (paraphrasing poorly here): that it can make us aware of our hunger and satisfy it in the same gesture. Thank you for that.


  2. Janice
    June 11, 2015

    Thank you for this wonderful meditation on the purpose(s) of a poem. On how they help us see.


  3. Barbara Russell
    May 16, 2015

    In Gontarek’s moving poem, death intrudes, even during the pleasures of life’s details that comfort. Cat glimpses inmost heart. Insightful.


  4. aldona middlesworth
    May 7, 2015

    I nominate Leonard Gontarek poet laureate of Philadelphia and beyond!


  5. Madeline
    May 7, 2015

    Such an honest account of life in poetry. Death is everywhere, as is poetry, and politics. We are all vulnerable to reality and cannot escape.

    Beautiful poem!


  6. Betti Kahn
    May 5, 2015

    In “Coffee”, Gontarek, with keen sight and insight, asks me, the reader,”What do I think, care about? What do I notice? And what is a “political poem”? Love it.


  7. Jennifer
    May 5, 2015

    Love the pair, this one and Night.


  8. Angel
    May 4, 2015

    Love Gontarek’s work. So grateful for his overall contribution to the poetry landscape of Philadelphia.


  9. shevaunbrannigan
    May 4, 2015

    Love this very much. One of my favorites of the Gontarek poems I’ve read.


  10. Shevaun Brannigan
    May 4, 2015

    Love this poem very much. A favorite of the poems Gontarek has written.


  11. lostinmist
    April 8, 2015

    Reblogged this on Mindfire Cantata.


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This entry was posted on April 8, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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