Thursday, September 4, 2014

* The Streets of New Haven (1944 -2012)


 (A reflection for Mr. Daponte-Smith)


(1944 - 2014)

For seven decades New Haven's streets

have been my

Dickens and Twain called



“the most beautiful street in America.”


These were the streets
of Presidents: Bill (and Hillary),
Bushes, and the rotund Taft.
The streets of Buckley’s God and Man at Yale
The streets of Black Panthers and Sloane Coffin.

The same streets on

which John Hinckley

stalked Jodi Foster,
hatching a demented plan
for a President.


Streets where the Streeps and Winklers
walked to drama class; hoping to hear
the Shubert ghosts,
Thornton and Tallulah,
rehearsing "The Skin of Our Teeth."


In my great-grandmother's day,

these streets were horse-filled

pathways from which the stench

of dying slaves trapped aboard

a harbored Amistad

wafted toward Yale nostrils.

Now they are asphalt:


Streets where campus

merely kick a black man on graduation night.*


Ah, New Haven: my birthplace,
my curseplace.


Paul Keane

M. Div. ‘80

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