The Metropolitan of Wallace Street by Arthur Turfa

Posted on Updated on

The Metropolitan of Wallace Street


Arthur Turfa

 A few Baltic households remained,

Interspersed throughout the barrio:

Bodegas and the Roberto Clemente Center

Between churches built by Russians,

Swedes, and Lithuanians two generations ago.


Re-gentrification rolled slowly from the west

Around the Art Museum, heading

Block by block toward North Broad,

Adding another ingredient to the mix.


In the 1600 block of Wallace Street

Gold-blazoned letters and Slavic cross

Announced the Holy Resurrection Cathedral

Inside the red-brick row house next to the

Vacant lot and music-blaring bodega.


From what once was a living room

The Divine Liturgy was served weekly to

Family and anyone who wandered in.

Metropolitan Trevor, Archbishop of Wallace Street

And renegade non-canonical Orthodox

Held forth with bargain-basement vestments,

A button-festooned miter and minimalistic icons


Late evening, humid or frigid, he walked

The nearby streets, consoling the

Derelict and drugged,

Pressing five dollar bills into hands,

Offering brief words of consolation,

A shooting star over a desperate earth.


During daylight standing with

Those who tried to temper abuse and

Ravages of urban living and

Herding the far-flung cats of

His nebulous jurisdiction.


On my last visit, again pleading with me to

Follow his course in any way I chose,

Standing with him at the altar for

The first and last time

Presiding over a dwindling flock on

A sweltering August morning.


When newsletters and notes no longer to

The Land of Enchantment came

I called to learn why, never expecting to

Hear how cancer short-circuited

Career and family to oblivion.

Halfway-reconciled to all he loved,

And to the God whose light nonetheless

Shone through the fully-human

Yet touched by the divine,

Metropolitan of Wallace Street

Asked for a cigar and soon

Passed from one life to the next.


Bio: Arthur Turfa lives in the South Carolina Midlands, but his poetry contains influences of his native Pennsylvania, California, Germany (where he has also lived), as well as other places. His first book of poetry. “Times and Places, Reflected”, will be released in the Spring of 2015 by eLectio Publishing.   Published in theMunyori Literary Journal and South Carolina English Teacher, he also maintains a personal blog, Some Poetry at aturfa.blogspot.com, and is an Owner at Words on Fire on Google+

Poetic Statement: Essentially I think Wordsworth had it right, although I do not always find long-lasting tranquility. Something or someone grabs a hold of me, and lingers until I recapture the moment, the glimpse, or the time from my life. My poetry attempts to include the reader into what I experienced, rather than telling the reader all about it or me. At times I strive for a sense of closure, at others I want to preserve something (more as a Symbolist than an Imagist). Whom do I read; Eliot, Auden, Rilke (in the original), Frost, Updike, Shakespeare, Bukowski, and others.Language that sings is more important that language that rhymes.


Posted on Updated on



E. S. Cormac

What time is it
Clothes will be ready for dryer in 5 minutes.
Maybe 10. The sky is North Atlantic gray but the ocean isn’t here.
The sea is obscured by mountains and a 40 day walk through Sinai

Muslins are no longer vogue
hurry to the garment district wrap Iman in pajamas
no matter the time. It is near 5 in the evening to be clear
Norma Jean’s skirts are safe
There are no vents on the sidewalks, or used condoms
just stubbed out cigarettes, fast food wrappers, a tiny ziploc
The habits of Miss Moss are still in style

Inside supermarket with a vague iterations
Passing Ophelia in Wellingtons twice in the aisles
Clothes to be dried in 20 minutes
Cyrus or Montana staring out so cosmopolitan out of step
Not a semblance to her contemporaries
Babies with babies with babies
Sarahs draped in polar fleece and velours

The capacitor house is gone to China its workers
cleaned up their own mess then sat idle turning into
a museum. You would like it your friends would all be there
and it is a short drive to Olana

It is 5:45. In an hour the lighthouse atop Masada will glow
ruining ships along its escarpments
Folded clothes pass a hand painted sign
that reads DANE’S.

Why did I leave Ophelia in the willows
forever a clambering muse caught stealing glances
I will wear my rue with a difference

Frank O’ Hara wrote poems with a quiet contemplativeness absent of the loud flamboyance of Ginsburg’s beat style, or the pure confessionalism of Lowell. Lampooning Olson’s projective verse essay with his own treatise on, “Personism,” O’Hara maintains that his poems are intended to place poem, poet, and an audience of one together. That through this intimacy poetry is most pure, damn, “Propagandists for technique….and for content.”
O’Hara’s poems read true to his manifesto in technique and style. The poet’s voice is heard in the stanzas, lightly commenting on the contemporary world around him. At times they are quietly confessional without the usual heaviness. They also contain some of the modernist technique for vague references to high art and literature, without becoming epically bogged down. O’ Hara is able to balance low and high art.
His, “I did this then I did that”, cadence like the confessionalist, and the beats is something that has been imitated since his death. O’ Hara’s death by dune buggy cut short a life of poet.


E.S. McCormick studied graphic design at Sage College in his hometown, Albany, New York. In 2006, he joined the military and has deployed three times, once to the Mexican border along southern Arizona, and twice to Afghanistan. He draws his short stories from experiences while serving in Afghanistan and the realities of coming home from conflict. More than personal memoir he strives to add a voice to the lives of those that experienced the conflict, both soldiers and Afghans alike. After returning from a yearlong tour in Southern Afghanistan during 2008-2009, He decided to pursue journalism and studied at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams MA. In 2009, he received an award for excellence in academic research from Hudson Valley. E.S. McCormick currently lives in the Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts.