Our second submission “A Phone Call to Manhattan”

Our second submission “A Phone Call to Manhattan”
dand les

Narragansett, Rhode Island circa 1998


from “November”


We now have our first addition to the Poet’s Page “November” Olivia Spenard

Following our two appeals for poems Have blog. Need poems.  emotionsand Need your submissions we, fingers crossed, anticipate more.ptterness

So, après nous le deluge (that’s French for pretentious), we will smuggle in one more of our own, “A Phone Call to Manhattan.”  (Actually not so bad and short.)  To spare more, please consider your own submissions.

The poem is currently under consideration by The New Yorker (who so far have had the dubious taste to decline on two others).  In publishing here, we must renounce The New Yorker as their guidelines stipulate that even poems published in “personal blogs” will not be accepted. (So its breaking up with them before they break up with us.)

The featured picture is the Narragansett beach house. In it is my sister, not one of the characters in the poem.


A Phone Call to Manhattan


We had made love in a Narragansett beach house as the Beavertail Lighthouse

Sent continual beacons of light through the window whose rhythm matched our own.

And the call was never made.


Beavertail Lighthouse, Jamestown, RI

gladys potter

At three in the morning, pushing me down into wood chips

Scattered about the Children’s Garden

In Peace Dale.



And the call was never made.


A red sweater on a cool Fall evening in Providence

In whose cuteness I saw

Grandchildren at my feet at eighty.


Statue of Roger Williams, Prospect Park, Providence, RI

And the single phone call to Manhattan

That it would have taken

Was never made.

gp 1Poetic License: the “Children’s Garden in Peace Dale” is actually the Gladys Potter Garden near Wayland Square on the East Side of Providence

gp 3  


Outside Lux Lounge

ALSO, BELOW IS A VARIATION ON THE THEME, “A Thirty Year Prophecy.”  Like any old poet who borrows from himself, you’ll see a similar stanza as the first from “A Phone Call to Manhattan.” This one appeared in What Millennials think of the Bridge Generation at Lux Lounge


Two on a Rickety Bicycle

NOTE: Pre-Poet’s Page, some other items have appeared. “A Mutually Agreed Upon Period of Reflection” (actually published in The Criterion: An International Journal in English) was in “The New Yorker is NOT publishing my poem” and Two on a rickety bicycle (also in The Criterion).




Starving artist passing the hat at Lux Lounge


“The New Yorker is NOT publishing my poem!”

A Boy and his BG: A Love Story (visual poem) is a sort of. As is “Thou” from Emotions recollected in tranquility on University Ave (Kitty Jospé’s wonderful story of the Poet’s Walk).  And there is a mélange of stuff from all sorts of people in On the Road. Destination little Bohemia in the South Wedge


A Boy and his BG: A Love Story (visual poem)





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A Thirty Year Prophecy




Providence, RI 1986

A Thirty Year Prophecy


Caressing the still visible pinkish line with its sixteen stitches,

For thirty years he imagined telling the story to great effect over wine at tables for two.


Slyly he recounted how he had taken a Brown girl inside Sayles Hall. Coaxing her upward,

Climbing a ladder to a musty, nearly dark alcove, sweater breached and bra unhinged.

Suggesting the math classrooms downstairs would be more amenable to their purposes.

The fall, the nail, the glass, the blood. The air cast, the sixteen stitches.


No doubt the gay organist who used the alcove placed a curse.

Because later he would take a RISD girl to the scene of the crime.

This time the organist was booming fugues from the Phantom of the Opera.

Chastened, he offered she go down first.

The fall, the nail, the glass, the blood. The air cast, the seventeen stitches.

Needless to say, the wound was fatal to our budding romance.


He always ended, squinting, that one Campus Dance he planned to take a woman

Back to the second floor of Sayles Hall when on the steps below the window at midnight

The Jabberwocks sang Ever True to Brown.

There and then he would propose.


Sayles Hall, Brown University

Who knows, it might be a stranger he had just met. An old love back for Reunion Weekend.

It might be you. Curses don’t last forever.


In the afternoon before the Dance, those not wanting to overpay for their liquor

Tape bottles of Tanqueray and Old Bombay underneath their assigned tables.

By 10:30, the bottles are empty and the revelers are back in line paying double prices.

The clear skies above Providence keeping its celestial promise for an evening.

Ever the same twelve thousand people Under the Elms.

Rows of Japanese lanterns making the Green look like a colonial outpost.

The Big Band announcing that happy days are here again.

Dancers dancing as if it were 1955 or 1965 or 1975 or 1985.

Kisses melting time.


Said to be comfortable in his bachelorhood, they had met at the University track one June day.

She was young. Improbably young. Only 28.

They had made love in a Narragansett beach house as the Beavertail Lighthouse

Sent continual beacons of light through the window whose rhythm matched their own.


Beavertail Lighthouse, Jamestown RI

Somehow he sweet talked her into the Reunion and Dance.

She found his old story clichéd and obvious.

And she was from Manhattan and to her it was just another crowded affair.

And it might rain. And they would have to stay in dorms.


Fifteen minutes before the Jabberwocks were to begin, he went into Sayles alone.

Seeing her in the crowd, tipsily flirting with a circle

Of Class of ‘65ers, he beckoned.

Smiling, laughing, waving back, she returned to the conversation

With a man wearing a hat shaped like the head of a Brown bear

That made him look like a fool.


Campus Dance 2015 Shortly after the Senior Sing at midnight, Brown lit up the sky over the East Side with the final 250th anniversary celebration. Alas, I was not there. Not back since 2002.

Later back in the Wriston Quad dorm she admitted

She had more fun than expected. The old guys were a hoot when drunk.

Was that him waving? It was dark and hard to see.

Too bad her train left so soon and she couldn’t stay the whole weekend.

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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