Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Once Upon A Time On Mulberry Street

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Once Upon a Time On Mulberry Street

He was a bitter man
even of children.
He came from Italy
a ship stow-away
who earned the keep
for his family
pushing fruit in a cart
down Mulberry Street.
“Niza ripa peach e banana
Two poundza pa quarta”
Typhoid and dysentery
took his little son
and wife when the
coal was scarce
in the winter of 1914 . . .
On the streets
of Lower Manhattan
he screamed for mercy
almost lost his mind.
Nothing was good anymore.
There was no God
on the East Side
and every day
that river called to him
promising peace.
Five more winters passed
before he met Maria
and that was the first day
he saw the sun.
Can you imagine it?
He saw the sun!
How long does sorrow
keep the heart imprisoned
and the mind sealed shut
without due consolation?
And when is it elected
that the heavens should open up again
and pour forth
sweet healing balm
in the form of another soul?
This was Maria
brown-eyed beauty with hands of silk
and bosom full and tender
She came to draw the curtains back
and let the sunshine in
to touch the walls with laughter
to fill his bed with long lost love
and to give him back his heart.
Years passed
and on that day he died
a house on Mulberry Street
began to cry
and all who knew him
in his blossomed life
stood in the small stairway
filled with flowers
singing songs with Maria . . .
songs of a man they’d come to love.

Joanne Cucinello 2007


  1. this was brilliant... oh i so enjoyed it,, i wanted to hug him myself.....

  2. Thank you so much, Paisley! I'm really happy you enjoyed this poem.


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