Streets of the Stockade


Lamp posts – magnify
a sheet of frozen water… on

While, women complained,
“How cold it is” –
inside one room in a
Tenement, filled with

While women complained
of noise – outside – in the
middle of the night – their
men gather around a
pail of fire… “Like bums.”

Women say – because they
know men gather inside of a
saloon – every other house
a place to drink, laugh, and
gamble. . .
men gather inside a saloon –
in the back room – more
gather there – use a back door –

Even a butcher shop
had a back door.

Men who delivered coal
complained  – about the
strike. . . schools closed,
movie houses, and The Locomotive,
General Electric – having half
their staff –

It was a time when women used
dark brown sugar, and steak
was cheaper than butter.

The Stockade – where people,
imigrants slept side by side
with strangers, no one knew –

America – as a boat crossed
people screaming, waving
at a lady with a torch, they
thought they too were free.

America would place a stop
to imigrants, and The Stockade
would become more like home,
unlike the bottom of a steamer,
those people – no one knew.

The Stockade, was Syracuse,
Brooklyn, a small town in
Vermont, it was anywhere
in the United States where
work could be found –
hauling slate, to digging ditches,
delivering coal, running a
saloon and – much more.

Immigrants begged to be here
to enter America, begged to be
part of us – our dream…

Immigrants brought talent
while others left, returning to
their old country, and some
returned – leaving life they
knew behind…some left
unseen, some returned
to find a different dream

their travels, many – some
followed, some kept secrets,
brotherhood of a society –
Edison – they were not
but the Black Hand.

  1. Avatar of Ronnie
    Ronnie says

    Similiar to the way my grandfather described it to me but Nancy says it so much better. Her reference to the Black Hand was scary to those individuals. They were an organized gang of ruthless thugs that preyed on their own.

  2. Avatar of Nancy Denofio
    Nancy Denofio says

    Ronnie neighborhoods back then were all from different “communes” in Italy and Sicily – and when they arrived here they were outcasts from one another as if they were different countries – while the small towns “commune” were perhaps two streets and a town square. Life changed for everyone. Thanks Ronnie, Nancy

  3. Avatar of Nancy Duci Denofio
    Nancy Duci Denofio says

    Thank you to the Coffee Table Muse for mentioning this in their paper. Sincerely, Nancy

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