A Long Island Endeavor

Paumanok, Transition

Editorial Staff: Richard Bronson, Carmen Bugan, Linda Dickman, Kathy Donnelly, Carolyn Emerson, Gladys Henderson,

Mindy Kronenberg, Robert Savino, Barbara Southard, Gayl Teller and Pramila Venkateswaran 

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Terry Amburgey


Paumanok: "The island with its breast long drawn out.”

W.W. Brooklyn Standard


A Midwesterner, an inlander,

a lover of the interior,

arrives on Long Island. “Paumanok!”

he whispers, savoring his Whitman,

local aborigine. “Paumanok,” he says,

half aloud. He feels salt water swaying

on every side of him. He looks around

for the rows and rows of ripening

corn he’d sighted down since he was

pushed from the womb. None. Expressways.


“Paumanok,” he repeats, looking

at a map. “Manhasset…Mineola…Massapequa,

”he reads. He picks out the red and green lines

looping the long breast. He turns them

on his tongue like strange herbs.


”he intones. “Wantagh and Wickapogue.


”He feels a mist drifting in from the shore.

“Quogue and Nissequogue, Nesconsett

and Amagansett,” he sings. He hears the

surf spashing nearer. “Commack

and Speonk and Setauket,” he chants,

“Ronkonkoma, Ronkonkoma.” “Shinnecock,

Peconic.” In the middle of a fog

sliding inland off the sea like

the souls of the dead, he says, softly,

“Mattituck, Montauk.” He whispers,

“Paumanok, Paumanok.” He begins

to hear voices from the interior.



Norbert Krapf

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Robert Harrison



you spread your finned fingers

118 miles east from New York Harbor to Montauk Point,

stretch 23 miles north-south from Long Island Sound

to the southern Atlantic coast,

1,401 square miles of luscious you



you embrace more than 7.5 million devotees

between limbs of the Pine Barrens

from the peak of Jayne’s Hill to the kettle depths

of Lake Ronkonkoma, across emerald lawns

of Gold Coast mansions, past strip stores and busy malls,


along Poospatuck and Shinnecock Reservations

through native-named towns of Nissequogue

Massapequa, Canarsie, Patchogue, Amagansett, Asharoken,

Commack, Copiague, Rockaway, Manhasset, Sagaponack


your vineyards ripe with vintage abundance

arboretums and planting fields vibrant with blossoms 

your tears of sorrow and happiness quenching us

enchanting us with your legends and mysteries

alerting us to your federally-endangered Sandplain Gerardia

your Roseate Tern, Bird’s Foot Violet, Piping Plover


teach us to love you, honor you, abide by your unspoken rules

educate us Stony Brook, SUNY, NYIT, Adelphi, Hofstra, LIU,

Dowling, Molloy, Nassau Community, Suffolk Community


museums, galleries, parks, preserves, aquariums, zoos

– with your brains and talent-show beauty, it’s no wonder you

are the most populated island of any US state or territory


Paumanok, home

to our Islanders, Mets, Ducks, The Big Duck,

the Hamptons wealthy with elegance

Jones Beach, the amphitheatre, the needle, the boardwalk


clamming, crabbing, floating

on your bosom of water

crossing your estuaries, your rivers, your flowing birth waters

commuting your byways, your highways, routes to your heart


ferries at Port Jefferson, Orient Point, Shelter Island

Fire Island Lighthouse

9 bridges and 13 tunnels funneling your lovers

across your historic land


you move us, yearn for our return

with major airstrips at LaGuardia, JFK, MacArthur

railroads, subways, buses, recreational trails, drive-ways


north-south BQE, Van Wyck, Clearview, Cross Island,

Meadowbrook, Wantagh, Seaford Oyster Bay , Robert Moses Causeway, Sagtikos, Sunken Meadow, William Floyd


east-west Belt/Southern State, Grand Central/Northern State,

LIE, Northern Blvd, Jericho Tpke, Hempstead Tpke,

Montauk Hwy, Sunrise


to sunset, you give of yourself, ask nothing in return –

mold us to deserve your generosity

help us to preserve your integrity



we worship you, the ground we walk on, plant in, grow on

arms entwined in fins, protect us from harming you, help us

conserve you, secure you, love us as we adore you

beloved Paumanok,

our Paumanok.



~ J R Turek    

Did Albert die?