Social Justice Poetry

Concert at Bernie’s | A Social Justice Poem by Donal Mahoney

When Bernie wakes at 6 a.m.
there’s a piano on his chest
and Erroll Garner’s playing “Misty.”
Sinatra’s on the headboard
improvising lyrics
and Krupa’s in the corner
painting on the drums.
The music is magnificent.
Once the song is over

Bernie chants his morning prayers,
shaves and showers and limps to work
for another day at the gherkin factory.
The foreman, Mr. Simpkins, is an ogre
nonpareil, a sumbitch unsurpassed,
who stalks the catwalk all day long
with megaphone and stopwatch.
At 5 p.m. the factory spits Bernie
and his cohorts out the door

so Bernie limps to the Hot Wok Shack
and buys a carton of Egg Fu Yung
and heads back home to wait for dawn
so he can hear Erroll play “Night and Day”
while Sinatra does the vocal and
Krupa punctuates the piece
softly on the drums.

Bernie spends each day in hell but dawn
is always a concert from heaven.

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