(In the early or mid-1980s, the Gallo Wine Company moved east and set stores in malls. WQXR was a commercial station then, and Gallo was a sponsor. The first line of the first commercial is the first line of this poem from 1987.


There’s a gallows at the Bergen Mall!
I heard this on the radio just about now
And another set up elsewhere in New Jersey
I know what this means
Screaming convicts are dragged before jeering crowds
Dragged up wooden stairs by then subdued
Bent forward, weak at the knees and hooded
Needing support when the noose is fitted
Religious functionaries try to quiet the crowd
Tension as the signal is given
Then a scream from the crowd when the trap door drops
Afterwards someone cuts the body down
While wine buyers watch from their cars


One thought on “SUBURBIA

  1. Alan, I must say that I find this poem to be disturbing, which I think is the intended effect? I get the Gallo’s/gallows connection, as it must have been heard during the radio commercial. I do like what you’ve done with it, although it is quite spooky. Thought-provoking, too, especially with the last line…

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