Intimations    in the mist

Did an infant cry out for his mother

in a hospital on Cropsey Avenue

in Brooklyn    near Nelly Bly pier    did this happen

does anyone know    is there    anyone to ask

And did his mother comfort him    and did his crying cease

did he learn to walk in the park on Cropsey Avenue

did he live on Bay 34th Street    and were there empty lots and

many boys playing games    and chalk and marbles and ice cream

Good Humor and laughter and fears    avoiding cracks

on the way to Public School 101    and calling to Goodie

outside his kitchen window    long talks till sunset

does anyone know    is there    anyone to ask

Did Mendy and Goodie wave to Leah Youlus

on the last day of Hebrew School

and was there a fire in the stables on Stillwell Avenue

did a ragman cry out    I buy old clothes

Did Dennis Lupo beat up the guy who threatened us

cigarette butt between ear and skull

did Norman drag a box of logs along

the defunct trolley tracks across the steaming creek

Along Stillwell Avenue to Mermaid to Neptune to Surf

in the shadow of the Parachute and Wonder

Wheel    to dump them under the boardwalk

where oiled bodies stretched under glinting lines of light

And did the Tornado and Bobsled and Cyclone roar

over cascade of bumper cars and sideshow barkers

and ponies and batting cages and Skee-Balls

and did we stare at the sun setting beneath line of horizon

And did a ragman    searching for silver and gold rings

on the sands of Coney    searching    searching

sun setting    did he bend and touch a streak of light

and did he hear mermaids call    out beyond the pier

            Is there anyone here    does anyone know

                        is there    anyone to ask


  • Bernard Block was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and attended Cornell University and Brooklyn College. He hitch-hiked to California in 1965 and lived in the Haight-Ashbury through 1967 where he gave poetry readings at the I and Thou Coffee Shop, North Beach coffee houses and Golden Gate Park. He returned to NYC and studied with the poet Colette Inez in the mid '70's. He earned his living as a caseworker with the Bureau of Child Welfare in New York City (he is now retired). Bernard has read at all the major spoken-word venues in NYC. He has presented his poetry in venues in Philadelphia, Columbia, SC and Asheville, NC. In August, 2014 he was invited to feature in Laugharne, South Wales in celebration of the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth. Bernard curates and hosts the Series “From Whitman to Ginsberg” at Cornelia St. Café. There have been 21 editions of this Series; the most recent was presented on September 28, 2018. All 21 editions were videotaped and can be accessed on his YouTube Channel. He has had 38 poems published in the prestigious European on-line literary journal Levure Littéraire #8, #9 and #12 (Editors: Rodica Draghincescu; Erika Dagnino). Five of Bernard's poems appear in the French/English literary journal Recours au Poème (Editor: Marilyne Bertoncini) with French translation by Elizabeth Brunazzi. In an article in this journal regarding the NYC poetry scene, Ms. Brunazzi devotes a significant discussion to Bernard's poetry and his organizing role on that scene. Bernard Block’s book of poetry "Am I My Brother’s Keeper?" has been released by Dark Light Publishing. This is a bilingual edition, English/Spanish, with evocative translations by the eminent Mexican poet, Roberto Mendoza Ayala. It is available on Amazon and from the author: [email protected]