Poem of the Day: ‘Onion Street’ by Reed F. Coleman

Today’s poem of the day comes from Scott Montgomery, the head of MysteryPeople, BookPeople’s mystery bookstore-within-a-bookstore.  Here’s what Scott has to say about Onion Street by Reed F. Coleman:

“Many of today’s finest crime writers are also are accomplished poets, so it seemed like MysteryPeople should get in on the act for National Poetry Month. Onion Street was written by one of my all time favorites, right alongside Hammett and James Crumley, Reed Farrel Coleman. It contains the mood, complex emotion, and references to his Brooklyn home he’s known for in his beloved Moe Prager series. In fact, you can argue this poem takes the entire series and strips it to it’s purest elements.”


Onion Street

My father teeters on limbo for a leg
his crutches are not wings
he cannot fly.
But he can fly
carried like cigar ash
blown by an angel
a teetering angel on the head of a pin.
Flying would bury him
crush him, the flying man
under the densities of burning gravity
like a life full of dented cans.

Now I wonder
what waits for me.
Just tears on Onion Street.
Onion Street tears.

But I should know
that in Coney Island
the Parachute Jump molders
like the Eiffel Tower of rusty bones,
rusty bones and a halo
for the angel of dented cans.
That it waits
like a reminder
like a cancer
like the cancer that eats his bones
that my time
like his time
is time on Onion Street.

Now I wonder
wonder what waits for me.
Tears on Onion Street,
I suspect.
Onion Street tears.

~Reed Farrel Coleman is the former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America. He has published twelve novels—two under his pen name Tony Spinosa—in three series, and one stand-alone with award-winning Irish author Ken Bruen. His books have been translated into seven languages. Reed is a three-time winner of the Shamus Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year. He has also received the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards, and has been twice nominated for the Edgar® Award. He was the editor of the anthology Hard Boiled Brooklyn, and his short fiction and essays have appeared in Wall Street Noir, The Darker Mask, These Guns For Hire, Brooklyn Noir 3, Damn Near Dead, and other publications.

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