Spoonful: A Gathering of Stone Soup Poets

An extension of Cambridge's Stone Soup Poetry Venue.

Poem by Lo Galluccio

Photo by Michael E. Quigg

I. “Charity is not puffed up”
                             St. Paul, I. Corinthians

To Dorchester through
Uphams Corner
and South Bay Mall--
where people of color
with groceries
and little girls with braided
hair beads--
Men in wheelchairs,
injured, crippled
How, by what?

The nocturnal bullets,
paralyzing labor.

Is it poverty -- the very
act of riding a bus
and lugging a stroller onto it
to shop?
The driver pulling
the ramp down and up,
me waiting and wondering
how the woman next
to me with Target bags
would react
if I asked her directions
to the Catholic Charities,
my interview to teach
immigrant Haitians English.

I hold my elbows across
a shiny brown urban
trench from Tello’s – going
out of business sale –
slip my white shades onto
my head. Oh yes, she answers,
I think that’s near my stop,
a yellow building, social
her smooth coffee skin
and bright lips, eyes
shaded by ultra-bans…
“I’ll ask the driver when
I get off and motion to
you how many more stops.”
I thank her with a smile.
She gets off the back
and shouts to the driver.
Then, just like she promised,
holds up two fingers
through the window--

could be a peace sign,
in a war-torn matrix
where the lines of division
occasionally blurr?

I feel my legs under me,
a tremor of not belonging,
as I descend the bus
onto Columbia Avenue,
a bleak stretch of houses.

II. Charity Re-considered

The Program Director
comes from Flatbush, Brooklyn
where I taught
night high school

after Adam left me
on the street near his
Dad’s music studio
in mid-town –

“you son-of-a-bitch
moving to L.A.” -
vowing vengeance,
hugging the velvet
New York night to me
like a panther

landed on my feet
teaching “Things Fall Apart”
to troubled kids
in another ghetto.

Do I tell Sara
about the time I sank
onto the concrete at Midwood
and wept
for past lives

and the toughest girl
said, “Ms. G. are you all right?”

Or the field trip to see “Glory”
when Cory tried to pick up
the popcorn girl and
then threatened to bomb
the cinema when she
said, “No”.

My philosophy of education?
“Survival skills and life-long
adventure” the best, lamest
answer I can muster &

then all of a sudden
being responsible for someone
else’s menthol patch,
citizenship dues and correct
use of prepositions
leaves me feeling like

this ain’t the real movie.
These three bright women on salary
who drive into the Catholic Charities
in their economy cars –

No, the real movie, is that bus-ride
every day through the Dorchester
knockdown and those figures
in the All-Star textbook she shows me:

Monthly rent x 2 + security deposit = amount
to move in….
$700 x 2 + $700 = $2,100.

What is your worth, then, artist-child
and what the price you pay?

III. Back at Berlitz

Green and white confetti
blown through tubes
while duck boats pass
my Japanese student
and me.
Boylston Street.
The cops in their motorcade
top off the Irish
medley of green Mardi Gras beads.
Kids painted kelly
shout “Fuck L.A.”
in clutches.

Junita Yamamichi
holds his digital Canon
up high, inspired
by the parade
in Boston, USA.
“In Tokyo,” he confides
“workers never get time
off in the afternoon like this.”

I feel a pang of protocol
wondering if this is too
much time off his Business I
lesson….No, he’s soaking
up American sports fanaticism…
the street’s the lesson.

Finally the African-American
warriors are seen waving,
posing like celebs
smoking cigars & send a ripple
of thrill; you wave as they point,
up at the float
wanting to be seen by the
giant winners.

Jack Nicholson and Magic J.
back in Cali aren’t happy.

“Yup, they’re partying, today,
those philistines in Boston.”

That green machine took our
Hollywood flash in foul shots
and rebounds.