Alberto Zayden


It was too high up to touch


I would have used a ladder

but with the wanderers so dazed

I was afraid to spread bad luck


I would have jumped to pull myself up

but with the ghosts so guarded

I was afraid they’d let me drop

--not being one of them

--it’s in their training


I would have climbed on someone’s shoulders

but all the good shoulders were dead

--We called roll for hours


I would have read a poem

But my throat was thick with counting


I would have fought a war

I would have built a wall

I would have blazed the shields that brought them


But that had all been done

And none of it could change a thing

Alberto Zayden is an east village poet and writer born in Havana/Cuban and Lebanese parents. His play, The Cigarette Exchange was produced at Synchronicity Space in Soho. He has done many collaborative poetry performances with musicians and dance companies. In their review of one of such performance, The New York Times called his poetry "Visionary."