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by Martin Golan




Along Magnolia Place the lawn sprinklers are twirling. Stephen passes them on his walk, surveying his neighborhood, deciding which streets live up to their names. He discovered, after renting a two-room apartment near Queens College, that despite the area being called Flushing, the streets have flowery names, like Jasmine, Juniper, Holly, and Rose. They run alphabetically from his door down to Kissena Park. Ash, Beech, Cherry, he'd recite, Dahlia, Elder, Geranium. The neighborhood revealed the beauty of the ordinary, and what could be more ordinary than "Flushing," that ludicrous, embarrassing, unusable name. He had also learned that by fleeing his motionless apartment and taking long walks it was harder to remain depressed.

And, out of the depths of despair, Darmon fashioned his now-famous tale, that haunting set of images that overpower the reader, sweep him up, as it were, until we are one with the poet's pain. And we are thankful Darmon has done much of the suffering for us.

It was on Magnolia Place that he decided to write Streets, as future scholars and graduate students would call it, his long prose poem about Lynn, starting when he spotted her across the room on the first day of a writers' workshop and fell hopelessly in love. Everything happened on Magnolia, that coalescence of ideas that meant he would create something that had never existed before and which he believed, against all odds, would make a difference in the world's aesthetics and his heart's desires.


Copyright 2007 by Martin Golan

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