The Poet's Corner—George Wallace



my name is George Wallace Oh mrs. Poets Corner stuck on the BQE thinking about Jimmy Schuyler Sunday afternoon 1:30 p.m. I'm crawling southbound on the BQE toward the Williamsburg Bridge instead of flying along the highway like a man ought to do a man ought to fly a lot of a highway if he is driving anywhere us in America but here we are in the pothole capital of the world driving over the rooftops of Brooklyn stuck in traffic even though it's just Sunday afternoon and winter the economy's in shambles again the big rumbling engine of America has run out of gas it's a bit abandoned on the side of the highway America's sitting on cinder blocks on the side of the road like it used to do like one of those cars back in the day a ban on the Cross Bronx Expressway by some sucker from the suburbs and the local boys have already pounced on it and stripped it down and I'm thinking how if this was back in the day I'd be living in New York City with art critics and abstract expressionist I wouldn't be bouncing on abandoned cars like the boys in the South Bronx I mean it was 1950 some might be drinking beer at the cedar tavern with Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline I'd be working at the front desk of the MoMA like frank O'Hara I would be cruising the streets like crazy Charlie Chester common staying with people in Southampton making friends with WH Ottoman Fairfield Porter I'd be doing that like Jimmy's Schuyler did it like he used to do it back in the day and the sexy trucks would be rolling up 2nd Avenue from me like they didn't Skylar's poem February February they just rolled away into the sky like all the hot young lovers that rolled into and out of Jimmy's Skylar's life Jimmy I'm not Jimmy I'm not Jimmy's scholar I'm not living back in the day I'm living in them now even though it feels like February the way old Jimmy described it in his poem is very good poem February with us tulips trying to open up and it's women jiggling be visas windows with her tight little eyes now it's not February its March 15th I'll be 60 years old next week 60 by the time Jamie Skylar was this old most of the important people in his life were dead bunny Frank jameelah sir yet diabetes the American Academy of poets had elected him fellow there hammamet boy ten thousand dollars a year you can believe that ten thousand dollars a year in the 50s and all I get from them is notices that I ought to be a member or else I was a member but now my memberships about to expire and I'm wondering whether all the important people in my life what if I could get ten thousand dollars a year from the Academy instead of paying them thirty five bucks how can a man even see that you win building like Jimmy's Schuyler says they did in that poem because who I have sitting here on the BQE that building looks like a big bad box of American cereal somebody not the Green Wave in a violent sea which is a perfectly good image but I mean what was that Jimmy's thinking about when he said that Green Wave in a violent sea what angle was he look at the UN building firm was he trying to say I mean look it's a terrible building you went over I mean I supposed of some angle it doesn't look like an IBM card or a big ugly box of blind American Kellogg's cornflakes maybe maybe from some angle it doesn't look like a big keyhole that if you find the right candidate with just the right way you might open the door to Eternity and thinking it'll leave holes in the New York City skyline the way they used to do do they they don't leave them there for very long I mean they just fill them up with something new but then again maybe Jimmy Schuyler is onto something maybe he could see something I can't see maybe there would be a big hole in the New York City skyline if you took the UN building away just like death put a hole in the sky the day that it took Jimmy Schuyler away from the rest of us because after all a lot of people I know miss Jimmy Schuyler and they talk about him all the time and even though I'd never knew the man I know them so sometimes I talk about with you

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