David Blair

Riding the Metro-North New Haven Line and Black Mountain Music
August 23, 2020 Blair David

Riding the Metro-North New Haven Line
The question is what kind of sausage are they—
don’t know, a lot of white guys,
some Weißwurst, Wisconsin brats,
Kelly’s linked sausage, Ballpark
Franks, Oscar Meyers, the Wharton
School, Bob Evans’ maple, vegan—
some flavor businessmen mainly,
at the bar that has spilled
outside Grand Central Station,
the sausage are in pinstripes
and swing martinis, weights, glasses
of beer, some wine, who actually
give each other clearance
of half an arm length
to avoid bopping each other
in the noses in mid-brag
before riding on back
to Cos Cob, Darien, Westport,
or up along the Hudson
to Hastings-on-Hudson,
the train full of brilliant light
now that overcoats are gone,
and there might be a hunkered-
down old capitalist in seersucker,
face red from the trip to town
with a boating complexion
or maybe just drop dead pink
operating how well it is hard
to say of him or of anybody
as if there were firmament
above the firmament.
I’m this pulmonologist
or I can pry my cabin window
open and see the wavelets
and the white wine effects.
There is a voluble group
of ladies who are drunk
after work talking about
how much better it is to be
at Revlon rather than B.P.,
laughing snorting yukking it
up, business ladies; we know
what they would sound like
if they were collaborators
in Vichy France and Germany
had won the war. The same way.
I think I know how a jerk thinks.
He walks along lower Manhattan,
down off Houston Street
and when some oldsters
are out in sunny lawn chairs
alongside subsidized old age homes
which are hard to get into,
those freeloading bums
still with the good location.
Everything else is too far away.


Black Mountain Music

“The looseness of music,”
I start to say, but, uh, 10-4, negatory
on that comment. I stood ten feet
from a string quartet
and what I was feeling
about the violinist—so many
of these string sections
made up elves and a big oaf
playing cello who looks like a cello—
my mind gone visiting Ben Shahns,
socialist realist oompah loompahs,
the real short one named Nerdlia
from Romania, who stood
about five foot four
in her heels, big square
classical music heels,
I had to read all the program notes.
Tony Bennet says if he had done
nothing else but be a singing waiter
in Astoria, Queens,
he would have been alright,
just a singular voice.

David Blair grew up in Pittsburgh. He is the author of two new books from MadHat Press, his fourth collection of poetry, Barbarian Seasons (2020), and Walk Around: Essays on Poetry and Place (2019). Thomas Lux chose his first collection Ascension Days for the Del Sol Poetry Prize in 2007. Arsonville (New Issues Poetry & Prose) and Friends with Dogs (Sheep Meadow Press) both came out in 2016.  He currently teaches writing at Bentley University, Framingham State University, and in the online masters degree program in creative writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and he has recently taught in the MFA Writing Program at the University of New Hampshire. www.davidblairpoetry.com