Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Front Street 1918

Women - complained about the
cold - people crammed inside
one room, sleeping on floors
within tenements, or two room
flats; on Front Street.

But this - is America
where dreams come true.

Women - complained about the
noise outside - in the middle
of the night. Men gathering
outside, in the middle of the
night - around a pail of fire;
like bums.

No one listened to the women.

Men gathering inside of of
saloons, in the back room
drinking home made wine, playing
craps, and smoking old stogies.

Women complaining when they
visited the butchers shop -
about the price of meat, and
eggs costing more, brown sugar
instead of white.

No one listened. Women were
immigrants, can't write, or
read. . .

Men complained those who
delivered coal - then the
strike began and schools closed,
theaters - and half the workers
at the plant, out of work from
a lack of heat.

No one listened to the men.

Near the Mohawk River streets
would flood after a hard rain,
or thawing of winter, and boats
were rowed up and down the street
collecting victims from a second

Immigrants gathered where customs
were like home, a mountain village
against open fields of wheat: women
shopped, bargained for the best
price as pushcarts rolled through
village streets. But women wore
a golden cross attached to their
sweater - it was a Sicilian way.

Men never noticed.

Men never noticed.

In 1917 war injured dreams of
immigrants, no more peaceful streets,
everyone was touched - even all
the children - when would it end?

On Front Street, near the Locomotive
Plant, and the big plant - known
to light the world, it was the
industrial revolution - but war took
men while women worked with
children at their side.

Women complained about war.

Men came home in baskets. Immigrants
were clueless about their relatives

No one listened.

War heroes returned, bringing some
kind of sickness, some kind of virus,
and the sickness crept into a town
taking more lives than war. . .

No one listened as men and women
ached with pain.

America - where people gather under
lamp posts in a winter storm, and
dreamed of a better life.

Remembering wheat fields in the mountains
and the owner of the land - you had to
listen - immigrants remember - they

Now another white carriage moved
slowly down a cobblestone street,
for every woman, man, and child to
see - inside, wrapped in white sheets
lay the dead, one on top of one.

And on the door of the dead a black
wreath hung, and a sign for those
sick inside, for others to keep away.

Men and women talked about that day
they cheered when paper boys ran up
and down a city street, yelling,
"The war is over, the war is over."
Church bells rang.

But no one knew another knew another
killer would be ravaging the streets.

Some one understood - long before
the illness struck - understood people
needed to compromise and provide health
and education.

But no one listened.

Not until war and sickness killed -
enough to compromise. No one had to
read or write - in plain sight was
all it took to know, and understand.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Baseball Nights

Hated baseball - everything about it.
Hated the walk down Avenue A
to a field painted with white caulk
into the shape of a diamond –

Boys in matching suits praying, asking God
for a home run, making the sign of the cross
as they approached the batters box.
Loathed baseball - everything about it.

Frozen flavored ice pops, fudge bars, or a
Milky Way made me stay.

All that noise! Spectators screaming, parents
complaining, pleading to place their son
in the game.

Those same parents stood tall
when the National Anthem played - near
center field the American Flag blew -
Hated baseball - anyone there…

Italian ice – squeezed white cups, it drips
over the edge, lick it, lick it. . .

Mama - she loved it - all of it.
She screamed when a boy struck out, or waved
her arm’s into the air, swearing at the ump.
Mama - she jumped highest when it was her
son who made a home run.
She loved baseball - she wanted to play too.

Mama believed women should coach baseball.

One day I got my way - we left early
because scraps of paper - paper from
my Milky Way Bar - twisted in circles -lifted
up from the pavement…
The air was thick like paste and Mama knew.

Mama told others, “A storm is brewing.”
The women in the bleachers laughed.
Mama knew and grabbed my hand -
tugged me into the cement clubhouse…
you see - no one listened to Mama.

Not women selling candy or those frying dough.
Not one yelling to her son to throw the ball right and
look at the catcher…
You see - they laughed at Mama’s fear.
Women laughed as we entered the clubhouse -
laughed so hard their stomach’s giggled.

Mama and I gazed through a small peephole
near the big black frying pans where pizza fête fried…
we saw people running, and then the crowd inside
the clubhouse began to grow, and air grew thin…

No one cared about the pitcher, or who was the referee…
No one noticed the American Flag when it lifted from the
metal pole, and no one noticed all the boys searching
for their parents…
Rooftops were blown from buildings tossed like toys
into streets, markets exploded, and homes turned on
their own foundations.

The game was over.
Crystals of rain slammed against the cement structure.
Wind blew against the backs of those who wouldn’t listen.
The skies turned to midnight.
Women who laughed - pounded on the door to
squeeze fat bodies into thin spaces.

You see I hated baseball.
I hated baseball. But, I hated storms even more.
Mama knew it.
Mama knew I'll never like baseball.
But, most of all - I'll never listen to women who laugh.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Thursday, September 23, 2010


To The Gentlemen

Bow, to the gentlemen
Saratoga Belle -
congregating in the
park, dressed in fancy
frills -
Sip magic mineral
waters, listen to a band-
bow, to the gentlemen
tilt your parasol – flirt -
flirt - if you can.

Hard faced, manly
features, wearing
laced buttoned shoes -
Let your smile loose,
raise a corner of your
mouth, for just a little
It doesn’t hurt to flirt -
flirt if you can.

Expensive Saratoga
trunks packed neatly
for the stay… filled
with glitter, gowns
taffeta and lace -
Bow, to the Gentlemen
stare from the corner of
your eye… you’re just
a passing fantasy, so
go on, flirt for a
little while.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Wednesday, September 8, 2010



"One more," a stranger
swaying back and forth
yells out, "One more."

Aged beauty wears
a false mask of happiness -
wears a polyester skirt
pulled up above her knees
showing off her aging thighs. . .
leaning on a bar,

"One more."

A quarter in her wrinkled
hand, "One more."
She taps the quarter on its'
side - twisting back and forth
on the bar tool,

half smiling,
half carying,
"One more."

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved