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  • Paul A Maher Jr

Reading Maxwell Bodenheim's poem, "Fifth Avenue" (New York) - 1920

Audio can be heard at my other site, HOBOHEMIA

 

Seasons bring nothing to this gulch Save a harshly intimate anecdote Scrawled, here and there, on paint and stone. The houses shoulder each other In a forced and passionless communion. Their harassed angles rise Like a violent picture-puzzle Hiding a story that only ruins could reveal; Their straight lines, robbed of power, Meet in dwarfed rebellion. Sometimes they stand like vastly flattened faces Suffering ants to crawl In and out of their gaping mouths. Sometimes, in menial attitudes They stand like Gothic platitudes Slipshodly carved in dark brown stone. Tarnished solemnities of death Cast their transfigured hue on this avenue. The cool and indiscriminate glare Of sunlight seems to desecrate a tomb, And the racing people seem A stream of accidental shadows. Hard noises strike one's face and make It numb with momentary reality, But the noiseless undertone returns And they change to unreal jests (pests) Made by death.

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