New Brooklyn Poem

My poem Bouncers was just published by Muddy River Poetry Review.  Here is the poem:



Did you know that New York

surrenders the energy

of its frenetic days


You can hear it,

like the faint sigh

of a bicycle tire

with a leaky valve.

At 3 AM it’s done

and the city streets

are unburdened by the buzz

of millions of tethered lives.


Tony told me that

soon after we’d reconnected.


He was easy enough

to track down,

and we would meet

for coffee on occasion

at the Pink Pony

on Ludlow Street.

Old and Army-thin,

Tony loved to talk

about Brownsville,

the Canarsie Bouncers,

and my brother—

the Warlord.


They were a greased-up gang

of Jewish and Italian kids

in combat boots and garrison belts

that headquartered

in his mom’s apartment

over the greengrocer’s.

They hoped for girls and glory

and spent the nights

looking for fights

with the Hispanic and Black gangs

that shared the neighborhood.

My mom said their claim

to fame was that

they never changed their clothes.


Tony raced his chopper

up and down Hopkinson Avenue

all hours of the day and night.

One day his Uncle Frank

grabbed him by an ear

and took him to an Army recruiter.

Army life suited him.

Tony told me he’d fought

in Vietnam and every backwater

battle that never made the NY Times.


Tony rode his bike

well into his eighties.

He’d take to the streets at 3

and ride ‘til dawn.

He boarded a Greyhound last week

for one last visit with his aging

Army buddies scattered across the country.

He hopes to see

two old Bouncers,

Sal and Artie

in San Diego.


He gave me his bike to tend.

Ride it,

he ordered.

At 3 every morning,

I hump the bike

down four flights of stairs

and ride for an hour or so

in the eerie dark

of early morning

absorbing all that freed-up energy

with every breath I take.










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2 Responses to New Brooklyn Poem

  1. Absolutely outstanding, Steve. One of your best, I think.


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