Galina Itskovich

Two New York Shapes
1. South Ozone Park
The Zoo.
The Zone.
The dead zoom
Of the South Ozone
In the heat of the day
Drowsy from pot and booze
Rising all the way from the day-haze

To the manic episode of its night
Hanging out in the sweat’s hood
Diverting its bloodshot eyes,
Grilling the goat, chilling,
Shooting the breeze
My neighborhood,
The Hood.

2. Chelsea
Of the crowded trains
Momentous fights.
Back packs.
Knee caps.
Bachelor’s in Design.
Bachelorettes in thigh-high’s.
Wholesome lives and “Whole Foods” lines.

Elegy for Breezy
Consider this elegy the USPS’s eulogy to Breezy Point.
How do you know when the community ‘s been destroyed?
Just walk into a post office
If they let you of course
The crates and shelves
Filled with undeliverable mail.
Solemn white labels read
“Mrs. So-and-So or the Current Resident”
No current residents, though – sad
Former neighbors meet
In the office’s exposed hall
A skeleton
Stripped to the bone of concrete walls
To say hello
To piles of junk, looking for
The things of the (former) importance
At this same time just three weeks ago.
Hello, Patricia and Tom,
It looks like you’ve stopped caring for the mail orders.
Hello, Mr. Pinto,
How ‘bout that boating hobby of yours?
To the abandoned mail
Don’t really count as regular Saturday mornings
Of walking down to a beach or a church.
The community moves out and the sand dunes prevail.

*The neighborhood of Breezy Point was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012

On Entering Brooklyn
It’s Wednesday night. Like every other night,
I’m heading down south on a train.
The heat wave waves good-bye across the nation.
It seems like omnipresent “Starbucks” is running special again
To add to it a touch of dehydration.
Sits next to me my neighbor Brooklynite,
Sweats, swivels, yawns and blinks.

It’s still too hot to city-bike across
The river, hence enjoy the regal bridge –
The subway side of trucks,- while elbowing two cops
With a bouquet of handcuffs hanging on the chain
Discussing so-and-so’s drinking binge,
And softly cussing teens – yet it remains
Unclear what else the evening brings.


The highbrows stepped off way before Chinatown.
We, fellow Brooklynites, are proceeding down:
To the diversity of white/blue/no-collars;
To the costumed people walking off the movie sets
To mingle in bars
With green-dandruffed bums;
Retired intellectuals, hot mamas, sounds and scents;
To the not-so-quiet discussions of benefits on the job,
Views on the public school debate,
Bad compulsions of Casanova and getting laid,
Isaak Perlman’s violin summer camp,
Vanilla sex, difference in views not to get resolved,
“They’re friends with benefits” bullcrap,
The accidents, words in jest and offhand jabs,
Being stuck for two hours on a car during the Gay Pride parade,
Feeling like a mess by the end of the day, hand jobs,
This place’s short ribs and that place’s calzone…
Entering the Fuhgeddaboudit zone.

Born in the Ukraine, Galina Itskovich have lived in New York City for almostg a quarter-century. In addition to practicing psychotherapy and teaching the art of therapy nationally and internationally, she also writes and translates short fiction and poetry. Translations of poetry, original poems and short stories in English and Russian first came out of her drawer in 2012 and, to date,  appeared in several journals, almanacs and collections, both printed and online (to name just a few, Poetica (2012), «Contemporary Jewish Writing, Summer 2015», Cardinal Points (2016), (regular contributor). This collection is dedicated to New York,  poet’s favorite city.