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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Poem Written in Times Square (thinking about Ian McEwan and his not so saucy bark)

This poem is addressed to Ian McEwan.  You see I've just finished reading one of his latest novels - Saturday.  And I have to say I was pretty disappointed.  I've always enjoyed McEwan's novels going back to one of his earliest, A Child in Time, which I remember reading in college, or shortly thereafter, and thinking here is a major talent.  But this latest book falls pretty far short of the mark in a number of ways, most of which I won't bore you with right now.  For purposes of explaining this poem I've just written, perhaps it's only important to say that McEwan's story culminates in a particularly cheesy fashion with a creeky plot device that turns on one of the character's recital at knifepoint of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold.  Saturday comes across as one of those very English novels that attempts to describe the way we live now but somehow with the intrusion of the crusty old Dover Beach there in the story's climax it all takes on a very Victorian air, as if McEwan is disclosing nothing so much as his very own drawing room self.  This is precisely what strikes me as so disappointing about the book.

That being said, here is my poem for Ian McEwan.

With nary a puff
Yet already my lungs
And my chest
Start to twitch
On a cold winter night
Such as this
And after digging in
To the stash of ghee
In the studio fridge
I've caught enough 
Inspiration and drift
To venture a poem
Here and now
Walking fast
Through the midst
Of Times Square

I’d be hard pressed
To ignore the
Spectacolor screens
Hanging high overhead
On the Vornado Realty
Billboard atop
1540 Broadway
Or on the proximate
Block heading downtown
Where a guy from the Cheetah
Club proffers his business card

I'm lit up just as much
As the Great White Way itself
Only now it unfolds in this HDTV
Display lining both sides of
The street

No doubt there’s
A visual correlative
Of Moore’s Law
Which tells us that
Every two years
The resolution will double
Yet there's no doubling
 In our acuity
Visual or otherwise
As the signal’s
Received in the mind
Of the beholder

Our own perspicuity
Not having changed
Since Victorian times
It seems we’re still lamenting
That note of sadness and
The long withdrawing roar
Of the waves crashing
Whether on Dover or
Sagaponack Beach
It matters not in the least

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