New York City

NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY RATS

Folder: 
U.S. BLUES

 I always get disappointed.

I go to New York City

and travel around by subway.

 

I’m always hearing tales

of the legendary NYC subway rats

bigger than a tomcat

& I descend the stairs 

with great anticipation;

trembling with excitement.

 

Much to my chagrin,

I see plenty of rats scurrying about

But they’re all regulation size rats.

 

I never see the behemoths

immortalized in bronze statue

throughout the system.

 

And I travel Manhattan, 

Queens, Brooklyn & the Bronx.

I see them about on the tracks 

& on the platform

terrorizing tourists

and amusing subway musicians.

 

But they’re always normal size.

Maybe the behemoths

all moved to Staten Island

to study at the Dojo of Wu Tang.

 

Maybe they followed 

baby boomers

into nowhere New Jersey.

 

They never come out on my watch.

 

 

 

View georgeschaefer's Full Portfolio

THE CHILI AT ST MARK'S

Folder: 
AMERICAN ANECDOTES

I went to one of them New Year’s Day poetry marathons at St. Mark’s Church in the Lower East Side.  It was pretty cool albeit rather long.  12 hours of poetry is a lot to deal with in a single sitting.

 

Of course, you could slip out to the courtyard to smoke a bowl during the breaks.  There were also refreshments sold in the Parish Hall and they sold beer.  It’s also not that hard to sneak in a bottle of beer purchased from a deli.

 

They had a big pot of homemade chili selling at $3.00 a bowl.  I was stunned when I realized I was standing next to Jim Carroll at the refreshment table.  I had a copy of Living at the Movies which I timidly asked him to sign.  We talked briefly.  He drank 3 cups of coffee in about 20 minutes and was acting rather skittish.  He never seemed like the type to need stimulants.  He seems hyper enough without it.

 

He also made a major pitch for me to purchase a bowl of chili.  It didn’t look all that appetizing and I opted against it.  I figured I would stick to beer and my food outside somewhere else.  When a guy that drinks 3 cups of coffee in 20 minutes tries to sell me a bowl of chili, I get a little suspicious.  He wasn't getting a bowl for himself but seemed obsessed with getting me to buy a bowl.  

 

Of course, I didn’t fare much better with the gyro I got at a place across the street.  I should have made the extra effort to find a Bill’s Gyro.  Maybe next time, I’ll learn to put aside my paranoia and skepticism.  After all, strange or not, Jim Carroll was still a brother poet.  Maybe I should have trusted him all along.

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

originally written on 10-20-95.  I changed the tense since Jim has since become one of those "people who died."

View georgeschaefer's Full Portfolio

A New York Muse

What is it like?

 

Waking up in the arms of a man you don't know? 

 

His arms draped lazily over your waist as he slumbers

if you close your eyes and let your mind go blank you can nearly imagine him as a long time lover and there is sentiment in his embrace-  

yet instead you lie awake and wonder who he really is and how you got there

 

No familiarity in the gaze that meets you when he wakes

 

 

He'll bring you around the city, pay for your drinks and encourage photographs 

 

A ghost behind the camera

Capturing moments of you alone 

 

Yet you walk in stride with a stranger and fein closeness that could only exist between two intimate beings 

Not a man and a girl with only weeks to solve the anomalies in their stars 

 

He won't hold your hand but will make the kind of love to you in the evening that leaves you panting and wishing he were more than a shadow 

 

Loveless lust in the solitude of a one room apartment that he pays far too much for 

 

He'll bring you to the edge of ecstasy and nearly push you tumbling over, then pull you close and drift off to a noisy sleep, leaving you wondering if you should feel shame or gratitude 

 

You don't know how to speak to him

But how could you? 

 

Your tongue pressed heavily against sharp teeth and words catching between two pressed lips

 

You muse to yourself and think he may find you dull

Perhaps you weren't as lovely as he wanted

 

Whatever it is 

It makes you loathe stealing too many glances 

You want his face to remain slightly blurred in your memory

 

Not a man you could love

Not a man whose green eyes will burn behind a screen of black when you try to sleep

 

Nothing more than a tour guide for a Midwest girl in the big city.

 

 

MERRY QUESTMAS

                                            MERRY QUESTMAS

                                                                  Edward Iacona

 

 

                      Once upon a Christmastime

                     That was now many years ago

                     I was thinking about my Christmases past

 With a warm and nostalgic glow. 

 

I wanted to share my childhood

And all the things I did.

It would give some depth to stories

That start, “Well, when I was a kid…”

 

A vivid memory of my youth

Combined fun, excitement and pretty

Were those holiday trips with my Mom

To see Christmas in New York City.

 

We’ll bring the kids to Manhattan

It is really not too far.

Just ‘bout ninety minutes by Long Island rail

Or maybe hours by car.

 

Time has a way or changing things

I was truly aware of that.

So, I knew there would not be lunch

At the Horn and Hardart Automat.

 

The giant Pepsi waterfall

Atop Bond’s clothing store

And the smoke ring blowing Camel man

Just don’t exist any more.

 

We marched to Rockefeller Center

But the big tree missed its mark.

As the kids mentioned to me that

There are huge trees in Hecksher Park.

 

 

Of the smiling circling skaters below

This was my children’s take.

While they agreed that it looked like fun

That at home there is a frozen lake.

 

On a bitter cold winters day

Young kids don’t give a heck-o

About the gold statue of Prometheus

Or anything that’s Art Deco.

 

I knew that in the best toy department

There would be no displays by Lionel.

Those are probably replaced by video games

And electronic joys they wish to sell.

 

We went to the “World’s Largest Store”

With all the anticipation my heart employs.

But, while Santa still has “Santaland”,

The mighty Macy’s no longer sold toys.   

 

The animated holiday window displays

They were still welcome to be found.

But unlike the days I remembered

There were few people gathered ‘round.

 

For all the walking, wind and cold

It is with mixed feelings a make this query.

Would Edgar Allen Poe ever think to write

“Once upon a Christmas cheery…”

 

So my Christmases are only in my mind

The reality has gone to Good Bye Land.

And, now I know better than to try and show

What was my Coney Island.

View moxie's Full Portfolio