The Sunday Poem: Adam Rubinstein... Dreams and Streets I

At the heart of Adam Rubinstein's attempt to revisit this neighborhood is a girl. In my own life as a young boy, her name was Carol. Although I wanted to walk with her home from school, I was too shy...and contented myself with following half a block behind, throwing snowballs or hiding behind bushes. Later, I must have dated Carol a dozen times in my life: Nancy, Elizabeth, Tanya, Susan, and more. I think I remember the way to her house. Adam Rubinstein will take you back there.

This poem is part of his epic work, The Dredge Cycle. "It started as a way to exorcise dreams of the house I grew up in. As a means to come to terms with my upbringing, and class identity." Adam Rubinstein is a graphic designer and book artist. He has been feeding his life to this massive book of poems about history, erasure, and identity in the Northeast United States town of Wellesley, Mass.

Dreams and Streets I

The tucked-away streets
become the houses that rest on them.
You would never return here
if not for the girl
you fell for
on the bus rides home. Sometimes you remember
her name, but mostly
wheat-blonde hair, the last day of school
and ninety six degrees.

She had a wood gate to unlock
before the bus would lurch

They never lead
where they’re supposed to.
Erase the map
and leave town.
The names will follow you
imprecisely. They will veer
into Andy’s neighborhood
or Lucas’s house
on the other side of town.

And we begin to walk them
in other cities
nevermind that there are buildings
where there shouldn’t be,
that Fleur’s family
doesn’t live there
anymore, that the nice folks
behind the gate now deny
she ever lived there
at all.

--Adam Rubinstein

Poetry submissions are welcome. Email The whole Sunday Poem series is available from the front page of the DCF by clicking on The DitchRider in the left-hand sidebar. Poems early in the series are archived under "Previous Post" at the bottom of The DitchRider blog.

Views: 43

Comment by cathyray on March 21, 2010 at 9:08am
I get the same feeling driving through the part of town I grew up in & seeing the houses of the kids from school. Even my old house doesn't know me anymore.
Comment by Margaret Randall on March 21, 2010 at 9:52am
Hi Adam: I love this poem. How's the book coming? I hope to see it out there soon.
Comment by Adam Rubinstein on March 21, 2010 at 10:01am
@Cathy: I live down the street from Washington Middle School, and every schoolday afternoon the kids parade by my front door. I used to walk to middle school, too. If you'd like to see a few more poems from the cycle, please fan the facebook page.

@Margaret: Thank you! It's in final-final editing. Going to AWP to see what I can make of the publishing gamut before I take the plunge.
Comment by Stephanie James on March 21, 2010 at 10:35am
I live only blocks away from a childhood home I always/still dream about. I don't know why I can't shake that house. We only lived there about 5 years. That was 35 years ago. Mostly I dream about tromping through the once empty fields that surrounded it. The house looks so different now I hardly recognize it. *goes off to fan Adam's facebook page*
Comment by cathyray on March 21, 2010 at 11:29am
OH! I'm fannin too!

JMG - you have to let us know what he says.
Comment by Adam Rubinstein on March 21, 2010 at 12:16pm
@JMG via cathyray: Oh my lord yes!
Comment by Ben Moffett on March 21, 2010 at 3:50pm
This is too close to my own experiences. I don't want to talk about it. Great poem.
Comment by Adelita on March 21, 2010 at 7:50pm
Adam - Wow. I love your work.

JMG - WOWZA! What a beautiful story. Glad you guys reconnected!
Comment by Adam Rubinstein on March 23, 2010 at 8:33am
Jill: That story is staggering. I think I found a new inch to sink into in my chair.

Adelita: Thank you. Please join up on Facebook for more poems and fun!
Comment by JMG on March 23, 2010 at 12:09pm
I fanned your page, Adam!
It's so nice to see some romantics around this joint for a change!


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