Sunday Afternoon in Niagara Falls by Marilyn K. Moody

moody
It’s a grey february day, and we’re
just hanging out in old Niagara Falls,

in a bar next to the river, you know, you
can look out the smoke-smeared window,

and see the river across River Road, but
everyone there has seen that water all their

life, they don’t give a shit about the river or
the falls; maybe you might get a grunt or

something if you talked about Love Canal,
mainly cause everyone knows somebody

whose property values got ruined, and my
friend still points out that gash on the earth

every time we drive here to this sleazy but
not a biker bar here in her home town,

but the real purpose of coming here is
perfectly clear to us and everyone else.

We shoot pool.

The regulars at this bar know

their real purpose too, and they get to their
drinking and don’t even move, so we don’t ever

have to fight to put quarters in the table’s slot,
but we stack up the quarters for at least 10

games anyways, and then we chalk the cues
and then we rack the balls, and then WHOOSH

we break the balls, and you ain’t seen nothing
until you’ve seen the four of us playing pool

in a niagara falls bar in the middle of winter
with the whole bar wishing they were us,

and any guy who challenges our best
wishes he’d left the old bitches alone,

and we’re the main entertainment, we’re
the whole sunday afternoon show,

and we don’t ever let anybody down.


©1997 by Marilyn Moody

Lines occasioned by the death of Mrs. Crysler, of Niagara by Erieus (Adam Hood Burwell)

death
In loving remembrance of. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Death gazed on her charms with his pale greedy eyes,
‡‡Tho’ thousands were marching before her;
As seizing the hand of his beautiful prize,
‡‡From the arms of the Bridegroom he tore her.

Hell follow’d close in the footsteps of Death,
‡‡For the precious immortal within her;
With fury he grasp’d when she sigh’d her last breath,
‡‡As it were for some perishing sinner.

But a bright band of Seraphin swift from the sky
‡‡Was there in full time to relieve her;
The fiend started back as they fronted his eye,
‡‡And he fled as they came to receive her.

Fell murderer begone! for a Saviour hath died,
‡‡They exclaim’d—the forlorn are defended;
And she bath’d in the fountain that flows from his side,
‡‡While the day of his grace was extended.

Her Judge is her Counsellor — who shall accuse!
‡‡Her Saviour, her great Mediator,
Hath purchased her life with his own; — and his dues
‡‡He now claims of her Sovereign Creator.

Then rapid as thought they enrobed her in bright
‡‡Flowing vestments of heavenly splendor:
Her charms are renewed, and shine pure as the light,
‡‡While a concert of angels attend her.

Then, to Death they replied: — Thou hast fail’d of thine aim:
‡‡‘Tis but clay thou hast gotten beside thee:
And the day draweth nigh when thy charnel-house game
‡‡Will spurn at thy rule and deride thee.

For the trumpet of Gabriel shall waken the dead
‡‡When the journey of time is completed:
Then where is thy sting?—all its venom is fled,
‡‡And the malice of hell is defeated.

The body that forms thy proud revel to day
‡‡Shall be fill’d with yon Seraph to-morrow;
And glory immortal shall crown the poor clay
‡‡That was once a frail mansion of sorrow.


Port Talbot, 12th June, 1826

Source: Adam Hood Burwell.  “New” Poems of Adam Hood Burwell. ed. & introduced by Mary Lu MacDonald. retrieved from canadianpoetry.org/volumes/vol18/macdonald.html

Erieus was the pen name of Adam Hood Burwell

Untitled by J. Austin

table
The title page of the Table Rock Album

Down the steep an ocean pours,
Loud the rushing water roars.
Oh, how shadowy were the way,
If no rainbow lit the spray!
Here a love-sick swain may find
Speedy cure for anguished mind.
Take one plunge, and every woe
Down the gulf will quickly go.

J. Austin was from Texas

 

Source: Table Rock Album and Sketches of the Falls and Scenery Adjacent. Buffalo: Steam Press of Thomas and Lathrops, copyright by Jewett, Thomas & Co.,1856c.1848

This link takes you to the scanned version of  the 1855 version of Table Rock Album from the Hathi Trust

See the Table of Contents of the Table Rock Album on this site.

Niagara, My Home Town by Stephanie Vigh Nielsen

nielsen
Rendezvous Motel & Restaurant, 3611 Lundy’s Lane, Highway 3a & 20, Niagara Falls, Canada. Image courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library

In the town where I was born, we’d walk up Lundy’s Lane
And talk about the dreams we had.
Life was a glass of ginger ale and a juke box serenade,
And we never thought of growing old.
Yes, I know those days have come and gone
Still I think about my old home town.

At a place called the Rendezvous, we’d congregate at eight
And talk about the baseball game.
Lights flashing on the window pane, watching cars go up the lane,
We’d wait for friends and lovers.
Yes, I know those days have come and gone
Still I think about my old home town.

Lavender mist makes a foggy night haze
While the falls come crashing ahead.
And I lean on the rail feel the damp cooling spray
Watching the foam turn a luminous maze.

And as I drive towards the town, the neon signs flash on
And thoughts begin to fill my head.
Oh the happiness I found, in my family’s old home town
Where nothing seemed to ever change.
Life was very simple, way back then
And we thought that it would never end.

When my dreams of long ago were scattered on the way
And those magic times forgotten.
Life went on but not the same, we grew up, we’re not to blame,
And those magic times forgotten.
Life was very simple, way back then
And we thought that it would never end.

Source: Niagara Falls (Ontario). Coronation Centre Newsletter, 1974

©1974 by Stephanie Vigh Nielsen

Visit Stephanie Vigh Nielsen’s Niagara Proud website

Apple: Skin to the Core: A Memoir in Words and Pictures by Eric Gansworth

apple
Apple, a memoir in verse and pictures by Eric Gansworth is an important addition to the literature of Niagara. Gansworth,  who was raised on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation in Niagara County, New York, just outside Niagara Falls, still resides in the area and teaches in Buffalo, NY.  The book has been longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award and is a Junior Library Guild selection.

Publisher supplied book information:

How about a book that makes you barge into your boss’s office to read a page of poetry from? That you dream of? That every movie, song, book, moment that follows continues to evoke in some way?

The term “Apple” is a slur in Native communities across the country. It’s for someone supposedly “red on the outside, white on the inside.”

Eric Gansworth is telling his story in Apple: Skin to the Core. The story of his family, of Onondaga among Tuscaroras, of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.

Eric shatters that slur and reclaims it in verse and prose and imagery that truly lives up to the word heartbreaking.

Run to your nearest library or book store to read this remarkable collection by Eric Gansworth.

Visit Eric Gansworth’s website