Looking For His Mind

How many times did he tell himself,
“This too shall pass?”
How many times did he fall into darkness
where his glasses did no good?
He keeps falling, heavy with questions.

The Master asks,
“Where are you going?”
“I am looking for my mind.”
The Master replies

“You must take another path.”


He walks to Warsaw,
greets the Polish Poet,
bushy-browed with a fixed stare,
asks, “Where is my mind?”
The Poet answers:

“You are not done with your changes
– to be grateful is enough.”



Lamentations for Kensington

Here lived Poles, Krauts, Jews, Ukies, Slovaks,
and so many others from Eastern Europe.
Here the shoemaker mended shoes
and priests the souls of immigrants.


The cobbler’s store is shuttered.
Where bottles were thrown against the walls,
the streets sparkle with broken glass.
Here are the wounds of drugs.
Pawnshops blister the Kensington
and Allegheny corridor; junkies unload their swag
for cash without bargaining.


North Catholic High is closed, the playing field where
immigrants headed balls now sore with weeds and litter.
Once a blue-collar neighborhood, it lingers with the ghosts
of machinists, steel workers, truck drivers, mill menders.


St. Bonnie’s reddish brownstone’s gone, its
stained glass hanging in someone else’s window.
That house with the coal cellar still is there
on a street of abandoned streets, where
boys with baskets sold five-cent pretzels.
The Harbison Milk Bottle still eyes the town.
The El stations smell of urine.


The Market Street transit speeds by
as if to avoid the plague of Kensington

where I dated Maryann from Little Flower.


Peter Krok is editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal (http://svjlit.com) and Humanities Director of the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center in Philadelphia where he has been coordinating a literary series since 1990.He is much-published and known as the “red brick poet” because of his connection with the city. His book, Looking For An Eye, was published by Foothills Press in 2008.