Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Leonard Gontarek: Night


Let the man write about Philadelphia. He has a little cynicism in him.

Cynicism is nothing. It’s black coffee with sugar.

Let him write about the sirens floating around the night.

Let him write about the beauty of Chinatown,

the ancient China behind the lacquer grocery store masks.

Let the Blessed Mother statue keep him warm.

Let him write about the fear of death because if he forgets it

for a moment, everyone is happy to remind him.

Let him write as the river passes.


I don’t know why he left the house every night

at midnight and came back happy.


He had wings. They were black

and beautiful.


He looked, for all the world,

like a man with no head

carrying the head of Shakespeare.


Look at the other men.

They kill and seem to be happy.

That is, they send us off to kill for them.

They dunk o’s of doughnuts

into cooled, pixilated brews.

copyright 2015 Leonard Gontarek


— The General 

5 comments on “Leonard Gontarek: Night

  1. Cassie
    August 12, 2015

    This has some of the same melancholy beauty of Jane Kenyon’s “Let Evening Come” but with a particular tone of its own–the Philly flavor? Like that grizzled guy you meet at the bar late, whose cynical crust encloses a too-soft center . . . he’s lucid, but his hand shakes. It appeals to the Irish in me, somehow. Lovely, thank you.


  2. B. E. (Betti) Kahn
    May 5, 2015

    Leonard makes magnificent gatherings happen in his poems. This one gathers the night, its special light, the city, the world, men of peace and war. And subtly, he gathers in the reader. A pleasure to read.


  3. Janice
    May 5, 2015

    There is so much pleasure in reading this.


  4. Jennifer
    May 5, 2015

    Yes, beautiful. Gentle, full of love and honest, not withholding the truth of things hard to love. Both the wound and the salve.


  5. Angel
    May 4, 2015

    Lovely to read on a Monday afternoon. Thank you for this.


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This entry was posted on April 28, 2015 by in Poetry and tagged , .

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