Rilke in the South End

I do not recall the line of trees, stately
as a concerto, choreographed with care
and to be captured
only in color with flair.

This was a Kodak black and white dead-end.

The short street blooms, in cascades of confident green,
no chain-link fence to stop it short,
rusty criss-cross revealing railroad tracks,
to no palpable end.

Far across this chasm,
through the eyes of the chain link,
an angular shape rising, some kind of shrine,
set in rock confidence then;
now a spirit above a barricade
of (disingenuously) rosy brick
blocking sight and sound of the railroad.

And there, yes, there was a loading dock with
no loads that I recall and so a stage for skits
for new voices and arms and feet to grow
from seeds to branches winding heavenward.

In that place, a few discreet parking spots.
For someone, I suppose, a treasure of sorts.


At first, Thomas Gagnon published articles, reviews, and essays for small Boston newspapers. Upon reading The Book of Hours: Prayers to a Lowly God by Rainer Maria Rilke, Gagnon wrote poetry as well. He has published poetry in disability-related magazines, such as Breath & Shadow. In 2011, he self-published a collection of poems, Pop Poetry, in which he combined traditional poetry forms with the rhyme and rhythm of the pop song. Currently, Gagnon is involved in mental health advocacy and recovery, and he is re-working a novel concerning the ambitions and troubles of a young man with bipolar disorder.

Steve Warren is a veteran, recovering addict and peer specialist who became a self taught Naturalpathic self healer. He changed his diet, started dancing, took to writing and performing poetry, and hasn’t stopped healing since.