passage from IN THE CITY OF THE BARE BULB
This is the city three regimes deep. More than the psychopath, the criminal, the pimp. More than the schemer and the simply poot. More than the misanthrope and the destitute. Who collects their green printed check at the first of the month at the small postal drop door? It is the pensioner, those who rock in their small rooms with the bare bulb swinging above.
The city of the bare bulb belongs to the police who shine its sun into the eyes of the mistakenly-picked-up to keep them awake and blind. There is no shade for the lamp of the police sergeants, hips lips are grit, his fists are lumps of coal, coal-hearted former children.
Can you tell what city we are in?
How do I know these things? I who took bags of bread, fish Tomas gave me, spinach, tomatoes grown on roofs, took them to my great aunt Zelda who sang beneath the bare bulb in her one room at the end of the three flights of stairs in the shadow of the Great Machinery Plant whose twelve smokestacks filled the skyline with blackened earth.
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"Be prepared for wonder: The Blue City is a place where you will see paper boats made by God illuminated in the merciful light that rises from the eyes of the dead. Be prepared to grieve for the children who sing a song you sang in childhood. Sean Thomas Dougherty's mesmerizing tale is a song of praise, a hand-written psalm, a visionary prayer made from the last handful of earth." -- Melanie Rae Thon.
Sean Thomas Dougherty is the author of nine books including Nightshift Belonging to Lorca, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and Except by Falling winner of the 2000 Pinyon Press Poetry Prize from Mesa State College. His awards include two Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowships in Poetry. Known for his electrifying performances, he has toured extensively across North America and Europe. He received an MFA in poetry from Syracuse University and lives in Erie, PA where he teaches writing workshops.