Greenpoint, October, 2015

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Caves of the Cavemen

The subway station
with its electric lights, pillars of steel, arches of cement,
   and trains -
quite an improvement on the caves of the cavemen;
but look! on this wall
a primitive drawing.

An underground gem from Charles Reznikoff's "Going To and From and Walking Up and Down," published in the collection By the Waters of Manhattan. I first encountered this book, and this poet, many years ago in a bookstore in Warsaw bookstore that maintained a shelf of highly miscellaneous used English- language books. I bought if for the cover alone--a design by Gilda Kuhlman, featuring her grainy photograph of the East River and East Side Drive (little knowing my beat would be the other side of the river).

Inside, Reznikoff's meditations on quotidian New York City life read as precursors to Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems--only, you know, Jewish.

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