1929 - Poem by Bernard Henrie
I looked for her at the 5 o’clock tables
decorated with Tanqueray Malacca gin,
mixed sweet and sour pineapple juice
shaken over iced and laconic Curacao.
My happiness roared with youth,
a girl I did not know kissed my mouth,
the city burned at my feet with taxis
yellow as South American bananas;
jazz music hollered in hot cellar clubs,
pale green money sat in waiting room
chairs like a cancer clinic patient,
I wore white shoes, it was that long ago.
I was a white diamond in New York
and handsome as the Prince of Wales.
Debts of a sun god in shops along
5th Avenue. I learned enough French
to pronounce parfums sprinkled
over dancing girls and somnambulant
Sped in taxis yellow as South American
bananas and drank in Spanish Harlem;
anonymous girls eyes black as storms
kissed my mouth, Tanqueray and ice
crushed on rouged l ips.
Became engaged to Glenda Tilton,
but she dived the Far Rockaway Beach
pier; they found her three days later
wrapped in sour green sea weed,
show girl legs albino white and nibbled
at the edge.
I smoked all night above the East River,
vodka the color of snow I imagine
at Moscow's Bolshoi.
A Santa-Fe took Glenda’s coffin
to her parents, the train like a guest
slowly leaving a party; I was too
hung-over to recall the rhyme scheme
of a villanelle.
Tea lamps and RCA phonographs;
Brownstones along Lexington Avenue;
tarot readings and séance reconnections
with the lingering dead; played poker
like a maniac, bet the Yale-Harvard
game, sat ringside at Yankee Stadium
for the Sharkey-Tommy Loughran fight.
My mother visited and for five days
I stopped drinking. I wore white shoes.
It was that long ago.
Comments about 1929 by Bernard Henrie
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.