hot city night

by Louis Ginsberg

Image: Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger
Image: Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger

The dank and sulky tenements
        Are wilting weary with the heat;
While from the doorways, children spill
        And clot the humid, huddled street.
The pools of faces flood the stoops
        And dribble into every space,
Until this packed humanity
        Seethes like a vat in every place!
The sallow mothers with their babes;
        The playing, sprawling children there;
The flaccid moldy aged men;
        The boys with their disheveled hair–
This weltering humanity
        Is saturated with the heat
That wedges into every crack,
        Pressing and beating on the street!
But while a hurdy-gurdy trolls,
        A sentimental tinsel tune;
And cars are droning down the tracks;
        And weary pallid mothers croon,
In every eye, a flare or gleam
Reveals the sea-shore in a dream!

This poem was part of Louis Ginsberg’s 1920 collection The Attic of the Past and Other Lyrics.

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