Martin Woodside


In This City

there’s a certain way to shake your fist
at cars that nearly run you down in the road
but not the way that old man does
railing away at the traffic the signage
wires blown down after the storm
railing gentle continuous
fingers linked loosely palm soft
like he’s cradling a baby bird—a chickadee
or some other kind of symbolic bird.

Some passers-by say he’s an oracle
he’s just been evicted
taken off disability and some say
it’s all a bit much.
But what will they say in eternity
as he obliterates the seasons
chafing the cosmos what
will they say when he’s there
every damn morning
caressing the sky with his fist?



Every few days it snows or stops
snow which is always gentle
never lashing or searing snow
that takes a looping motion soft
around the eyes painting the cheeks.

Every few days it snows or stops
and we all look up to see a scoundrel sun
yawning limply over freshly packed gutters
rusted plows huffing down
the rapt boulevards a scoundrel sun
in a cloudless sky.

In its wake we contemplate sheets
of ice on the sidewalk dogs on
the heating grates angles that form
between iceberg and eave.

For now trash is trapped under ice
stretched like specimen cells on platen
glass. For now all that matters is the way
people walk steaming down frozen sidewalks
without ever falling down or failing
to notice certain holes in the sky
the days moving there first one
then the other back and forth
falling gently in the snow.


Martin Woodside is a writer, translator, and a founding member of Calypso Editions. Heís published five books for children, a chapbook of poetry, Stationary Landscapes, and an anthology of Romanian poetry in translation, Of Gentle Wolves. His co-translations (with MARGENTO) of Gellu Naumís poetry have recently been published in the collection Athanor and Other Pohems.


to top

MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014