weequahic park in the dark

by David Shapiro

J. Ceravolo died 1988

Oh Joe
We walked across the lake
“That’s no way to walk”
You loved each bug and the cosmos
But you had no job
Oh Joe
It was an Olmstead almost
With ducks and a track
And a temple on top
Women washed their cars
And you loved the baby
Under lacy incubation
With your engineer’s respect
Oh Joe

Allen Ginsberg walked beside me
Confessed his visions might not be real
But I had seen God in dungarees
In daylight in the waves at Deal
Predict the destruction of the bulwark
Weequahic Park in the dark
And you had read the conscious lake
Oh Joe full of the dignity of the seasons your school

You explained—
I see the words around the emotion
Then I write them down—
It was your system of the spider-web
You were sad
But couldn’t explain

Missing you now like an oak in 1962
Or the word oak
I see your spider-web I write it down
Open to me, Weequahic Park
Where the shadow of a cloud passed over
As I lay on my back in the sunny court
As I lay on the lake in the boat
Thinking I could never die

Image: Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger
Image: Jennifer Brown/The Star-Ledger

David Shapiro’s elegy for fellow poet Joseph Ceravolo was published in A Burning Interior (2002).

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