Per Contra Spring 2009 Light Verse Supplement


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Russell Bittner


                                  There Are No Larks on Broadway



There are no larks on Broadway

      singing love songs to the mews,

as every backstreet pigeon knows

      that Reuters rifts the news.



The province once of winos

      swigging rot-gut by the fifth

now pays to Disney tribute and

      to Providence, His myth.



The buskers who would serenade

      its sidewalks for a dime

have paved the way for hucksters

      hawking ads that almost rhyme.



Pornographers, whose ‘pliant art’

      drew clients from the ‘burbs,

have left Times Square to cater to

      a far less violent urge –



where money is the music

      and receipts are all the rage,

“the play is (not) the thing”

      that sage accountants like to stage.



Instead, we have a Square – no square –

      and clocks that pimp the time;

like Vegas, we’re a monument

      to Mammon’s crimpy crime.











Clouds have passions, just like us –

      drifting off to board a bus,

each of us anonymous –

      clouds have passions, just like us.


Clouds will let their passions rain

      even on a Spanish plain.

Where’s the fun if we abstain?

      Rousingly with John Coltrane.


Clouds may let their passions ride

     even into “nimbicide.”

Bottled up and kept inside,

     ours feel like formaldehyde.


Clouds have passions, just like us:

      some of them eponymous,

and yet not synonymous

      Clouds have passions, just like us.



Russell Bittner has published his poetry and prose in many journals. Both his fiction and poetry have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in, among others, The Lyric, Thieves Jargon, Per Contra, The International Journal of Erotica, Next Stop Hollywood: Short Stories Bound for the Screen (St. Martins, 2007). He is presently at work on two additional novels, Gigolo, Gigolina and My Cradle, My Crucible, as well as on a collection of short stories, The Dead Don’t Bitch.


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