Amanda Deutch

 

Amanda Deutch’s poetry has been published in The New York Times, The Rumpus, 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, Barrow Street, Denver Quarterly, Black Earth Institute, and Manhattanville Review. Her chapbook, 2999 West 29th Street Coney Island, is forthcoming from Least Weasel Press in Winter, 2017. She is a three-time recipient of a Community Arts Grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council and of residencies from The Betsy Hotel (Miami) and Footpaths to Creativity (Azores). She lives in her native New York, where she is executive director of Parachute Literary Arts in Coney Island.

 

(ARCADE)

 

An arcade, an arc, gallery, walkway beeping with mechanical sounds

Hit em Hard, Hit em Hard, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man goes the song

of the High Striker on West 12th Street deep into the night. A jungle

of stuffed tigers with Mardi Gras beads crouch at the High Striker’s

base ready to pounce. Monica, who runs the game, her hair changes

color every week with the tides. Half pink half blond, today. She loses

teeth over the season. She fights for her space on West 12th Street

claims her turf between the Ghost Hole and the Wonder Wheel laden

with tigers and inflatable pirates

 

 

(SHE NEVER LEARNED TO SPEAK ENGLISH)

 

 

She never learned to speak English without

an accent, carried it with her through the streets

 

of Brooklyn to every diner & drugstore, every

supermarket & dance hall

 

Years later, on her Kings Highway plastic wrapped

pea-green couch & armchair (for company)

 

my grandmother held onto her roots. Stuffing

windows with candy colored Sunday coupons for

 

insulation. Never noticing the roaches

that crawled on the kitchen formica

 

Never speaking much

of heritage or holocausts or who she

 

left behind. Every item preserved in a heavy

sheet of plastic. Furniture. Clothes. Memory.

 

Every dress, shirt, coat in the hallway closet saved

for a special occasion. A half-full candy dish

 

of coffee Hopjes beside the plastic

choked armchair for guests that never came

 

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