Charles Chaim Wax


The Memory Of Great Men - Poem by Charles Chaim Wax

While I was eating
scrambled eggs
smothered with hot sauce
in Meng’s Restaurant
in Coney Island
I heard, “Is that little Stevie? ”
I turned to see
an old man at the door.
I had no idea who he was
but I got up and went to him
and he immediately put out his hand.
“How you been? ” he asked,
then continued without
waiting for an answer. “Still teaching? ”
“Not at the moment, ” I said.
“I’m living in Florida now,
just outside of Miami,
but Jennie’s still living in the co-op.”
As soon as he mentioned
the word “co-op”
I knew I had a chance of
remembering him
because the co-op was
the group of five buildings
in Sheepshead Bay where
I had grown up. This guy must have been
a member of that group of fellows
like my father
who moved in
after it was first built
but most of those men,
including my father,
were now dead.
“Jennie’s living with her boyfriend.”
“Jennifer, ” I mumbled.
“C’mon, Stevie, all your life you called her Jennie.”
I stared at Louis Goldberger,
his name rushing into my brain.
“How do you like living in Florida? ” I said.
“Half of Brooklyn is down there.”
“What ever happened to Abe Hoffman? ” I asked,
amazed that a name
I hadn’t thought of in
many years simply popped up in my head.
“Dead. Stroke.”
“Harry Lipshnetz? ’
“Dead. Heart Attack.”
“Joe Lubben? ’
“Dead. Cancer.”
I tried to remember
all my father’s friends. “Herman Grossenbacher? ”
“Alive, ” he laughed.
“At last! ”
“Barely, ” he said.
“How’s that? ’
“Can’t walk, talk,
or move his bowels
by himself.
Stroke victim.”


Comments about The Memory Of Great Men by Charles Chaim Wax

  • (10/21/2005 10:10:00 AM)


    I find your dialogues and descriptions very vital, you really got 'New York' in this one, I'm riveted! Prose or poetry, as in the last one I read, I don't even care!
    Your endings are a little abrupt, though, at least for me.
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Poem Submitted: Friday, October 21, 2005



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