Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category


In Poetry on March 28, 2018 at 7:30 pm

Darkness all around in the cold tomb

Darkness where there used to be life

Darkness overtaking the light of the world.

What good is it to die for the sins of the world?

What good is it to try and save those who killed you?

What good is having a close friend who will sell you out for 30 pieces of silver?

What good is infallibility when you denied the savior of the world?

What good is telling the truth when you get killed for it?

What good is good at all?

Darkness, all alone, and abandoned by most of your friends

Darkness in the place where those who ignored your father end up.

Darkness, for another day or two

Sure, you’ll rise, but who’ll see it or believe it?

-Thomas Clarke


Case Manager Appointment

In employment, fiction, Poetry, Uncategorized on February 22, 2018 at 4:49 pm




Clock ticking loudly, half past nine

Buzz, buzz, beep goes the printer, not dot matrix

The shot of the gun on the gator on the TV

In the other room

Further away, but louder than you


My heart beating loudly, tapping fingers on the desk

Android phone beeps and trills

Intercom blares, clients see your case managers

Vocal clicks of the keyboard

But still louder than you


But I’m supposed to pay attention to you

And you’re the one who’s supposed to help me

Get off that chair

Find a job worthwhile

And find something to sleep in better than a chair

Or car or shelter bed that only costs 30% of my income


And try to find a place

All my furniture rests on your shoulders

But you’re quieter than a church mouse

Maybe all my life is just disorganized noise

And you’re not worth listening to

Maybe the thoughts in my head are just louder than you


By Thomas Clarke


In Food, Love, Poetry on November 4, 2016 at 5:06 pm




I hear the soft clanging of a spoon in a pan

I am sure I do

Though she is not there

I smell the soft scent of sesame oil floating out from the kitchen’s warmth

I am sure I do

Though she is not there

I can hear the gentle soft lilting of her song

I am sure I do

I can taste the special noodle coming to me heaped carefully in my special bowl

I am sure I can

I am sure I can taste the dark slippery noodles so carefully cooked & prepared as they fill my grateful waiting mouth

But she is not there

She is not here

She is not carrying those special noodles to me as I sit expectantly on my throne

She is not here and the kitchen is quiet and clean and I am alone and she is not here

This achingly acquiescent cleanliness she last touched I dare not change

This barren emptiness I dare not disturb

This troubling quietness I know not how to sound again

Her absence makes a mockery of gathering any buds and nuts no matter I have traveled in the realms of gold and kissed a sweet rose now all is gone and I am alone

  – Michael Welch

Cold Water Flat

In memoir, Poetry on October 28, 2016 at 2:26 pm




That now has hot water.

I used to think of it as my

Million-dollar apartment,

All three rooms of it.

I was close to the Hudson River

And to the quiet streets

Of the West Village.

It was only a subway ride

From my mom and my hometown

In Jamaica, Queens, New York,

Where I wouldn’t be recognized

If I returned there for a visit,

As almost everyone I know

Has moved away to the Island.

West Village. 1970s. I was youth

Run amok. Up days on end, drunk,

Nicotine poisoned, searching

For an “ancient heavenly connection”

To give my life meaning while I drove

Hit-and-run love affairs that left

Me and others sorry for living.

Employers who put up with me

Because I knew books

Or to help stave off

The inevitable homelessness

I was headed to fast.

Eleventh Street. Roaches.

Smelly cat litter. Tobacco smoke.

Imagine a plethora of apt adjectives.

One cat I threw out

Before an open window.

The other cat died without

An explanation.

Now, I’m far enough

From Jamaica

And the West Village’s

Descent into madness

And have achieved

A Ginsbergian cool,

Hello, Murray Hill.

-Michael LaBombarda


In Poetry on October 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm




Foreword: This is a voice for the plight of trafficked persons.

Nameless, faceless, in a sea

Of scenarios waiting

To be played out,

My identity is a blur.

Faces, places, sounds swirl

Around me like a flood.

I am engulfed;

Broken, shattered

Into pieces. Violation

After violation,

I am consumed.

Running! Running from shadows

Of my past. I am

A victim of the present.


Silence!! (Terror can be so silencing.)

I am screaming,

But you can’t hear me.

I am screaming,

But you can’t see me.

I am screaming,

But you can’t help me

Nor save me

From the scourge

Of the underworld.


To my captors:

You disarm me

With your half-truths.

You captivate me

With broken promises.

With a nod of the head

And a handshake

You say, “Give me

Your tired, poor, huddled masses”

And erase my innocence.

With a wink of an eye

You say, “In God we trust”

And obliterate my smile


And you laugh.

With a kiss

And a warm embrace

You betray me.

You darken my soul

And sell yours in the exchange.

Ah, yes, to my captors!!

For now I am your cache

Till Liberty comes.

-Llima B.


In Food, Poetry on October 13, 2016 at 8:13 pm



He stood complacently, not responsible for

its greenery

he shrugged and gave a quick nod to the farmer at whose hand a tomato was nurtured into full redness

he stood surveying the abundance of choice with a boredom not fitting its opulence

he had eaten one too many carrot sticks and bedded down his lettuce as a frivolous notation about his access to the harvest

he had meant to care but found he couldn’t

he had meant to share but found it too bothersome

he yawned in the face of greens and reds and oranges and yellows and the endless need to wash and wash and wash and chop and cut

and the glass bottles of extra virgin olive oil and jugs of red balsamic vinegar and

he remembered the towering woman

who swept her pasta up in one fell swoop—

how it had fit perfectly in the Styrofoam container

how he had started to say Styrofoam is so bad for the earth but she had turned and left and it enraged him how anyone would walk out on him when he had so much to say and had demanded her to listen

he imagined the cherry tomatoes as her earrings and woven, braided strands of spaghetti as her necklace and then it revolted him because all he wanted

was a glass of brandy and his cigar and a tower of a woman to meet his every need

and the waitress had spit at him when he didn’t tip her and he wondered why they all persecuted him and

he sat on his tile floor and

cried and

cherry tomatoes rolled about his kitchen floor and

made him laugh.



She was tall and solidly built.

Her calves were hefty, sturdy foundations and she swayed, unconscious of her movement

a distant humming setting her on her way delicately

back and forth silently.

A tower of a woman stands at the door;

the chill from the fridge plastering her face ghostly as if the cold had pressed her flesh into ice—

a face gone white and numb.

Now she sees the piles of Styrofoam containers of the food she could not stomach

with the company she sought to escape.

Give me a doggy bag and let me run far from him she wanted to say

But only pointed to her plate of sad spaghetti and crusted bread and flakes of Parmigiano Reggiano with which she toyed, one swipe of the fork and

when the waitress saw her she threw the contents in a Styrofoam bin sullenly

and he watched, about to speak, and she fled before he could

and silencing thus, she vomited all food and thoughts and words in the comfort of her home and stacked another container on the tower of her containers and she was a tall and hefty woman who could,

if asked,

heave all the cartons to the wind and with it,

the likes of all those who sat across from her, fork in hand.

Instead she piled one on one on one the white Styrofoam tower

sturdy like her own, good, once hungry body and she says

Enough and shoves the last container that

falls spewing fine threads of spaghetti, chirping meatballs crying for help racing across the tile floor—

and the one below it, white Styrofoam square, stodgy falls too

And another and another

the containers spewing rice and broccoli and carrots and roast lamb with rosemary and yellow yams still in their tight jackets and wings that will never take flight laden as they are in barbeque sauce and baby leaves of spinach set flight away from cherry tomatoes and all the words of all the men who tried to tame her with affection

And leering glances

And cauldrons of words chased down with brandy.

She swayed on her long legs

Then Topple! she shouted

Then Fall! she sang and kicked a meatball into the corner

Then Gather the food as if in a harvest! she pleaded and

looking at the wasted food on the black and white tile floor

sat on the floor

collapsed onto the floor

and cried and when she thought

of all their words over dozen of dinners,

jumped to her feet

and laughed and laughed.

  -Annie Quintano

Let us go then you and I            

In Poetry, Uncategorized on September 29, 2016 at 8:58 pm

A collaborative poem by Ann Quintano, Tanya Jones, Stephanie Lawal, Michael Welch, and Bern Nix, using a famous first line (T.S. Eliot)


Let us go then you and I

Can explore the world in our own eyes

But if fear keeps us trapped, ask why

In search of the sirens’ dressing room

I follow the song to her tomb

And plead at the entrance to “let me in!”

Not so long, as to an entrance!

There are requirements, my dear!

But who are you to ban me from either room or tomb

The ushers refuse seating in the tomb 15 minutes

After the show’s opening

The show must go on, with or without you!


In Poetry on July 28, 2016 at 1:54 pm




I was a kid

When I discovered books,

But I was frightened

Of becoming a sissy,

So I played basketball

And baseball until

I was one of the best

In my small school

In Jamaica Estates,

And I read sports books.


When I realized

Being the best

In your neighborhood

Didn’t compare

To being the best

In all the neighborhoods

That make up

New York City,

I stared reading

More serious books.


I read Kafka, Stendhal,

Camus, and T.S. Eliot,

And others I forget.

Then I went to college,

Majoring in English.

I drank a lot in college,

But I drank more

In graduate school,

Probably why I never

Finished my degree

In Creative Writing.


When I was in high school,

I read The Stranger,

But it wasn’t until

My mother died

That I became Meursault,

Though I used to accuse

My father of being him.

I became Meursault

Because years later

I couldn’t remember the day

My mother died.


Yes, I’ve read a lot

Of books over the years,

Becoming characters

In each one of them,

So with all these men

And women I’ve become,

I’ve found solace in books,

Friends, city, country,

Despite feeling betrayed

By it from time to time,

But most important of all,

From my dependence on books,

I’ve found a reason to live.

-Michael LaBombarda

Mine Is A Gentle Soul

In Poetry, Uncategorized on July 14, 2016 at 5:30 pm

 gentle breeze


Let me hold onto the fantasy

Until I’m strong enough to see reality

Don’t push, let me take my time

Mine, is a Gentle soul


Lead me gently into what you see

Until strong faith becomes a part of me

Don’t mind if I take my time

Please be kind

Mine is a gentle soul


Mercy is Divine Inspiration for a higher mind

Mercy is Divine Compensation for a weaker kind

So let me

Hold onto the fantasy

Until I’m strong enough to see Reality


Don’t mind, if I take my time

Trying to learn my role,

Mine, is a gentle soul


-Michelle Birdsong

Copyright 1980

Cute as a Button

In Love, Poetry on July 14, 2016 at 5:24 pm



Found a button

On the sidewalk

On and on I went and wondered

Do I come back and pick up that cute button?



Found such a cute button

On the sidewalk, standing on the bread line

Round and round I went



Tomorrow I will look for that button again

Hopefully she will be there

On that line on that sidewalk

Under the looming shadow of the church steeple

God Almighty, please find her there

Hoping she will see me there

That cute as a button and finding her way into my hand I hope.

-Michael Welch