. Movie theme wall
Bleecker Street at night in the rain.
It’s a lovely June afternoon
and I’m heading up Bleecker Street
for a hazelnut espresso latte,
the kind made out of real hazelnuts,
not syrup, hoping it will empty me
of all my bickering ideas
and fate and immortality
so I can hear the fertile songs of spring.
Miguel de Unamuno—whose name
is impossible to say without smiling—
believed “self-love widens into love of all that lives.”
Thank God for Unamuno! For hazelnut lattes!
But the infinite archeology of my stupidity
prefers the charms of self-pity
to the equilibrium of self-love.
Perhaps these three Chinese girls
giggling into cell phones, lavishly spending
each moment of their youth, truly believe
the mountain of self has no top
and each breath is a reckoning with fate?
Perhaps these shiny boutiques, each
so resolute, so eager to please, are weary
the illusions of another century,
prefer the runaway slaves they hid in their root cellars,
their dreams of slaughter and deliverance?
Perhaps this beautiful blond woman,
screeching to a stop in a lilac Mercedes,
pursued by wailing police cars, finally
understands that it is not only for the soul
but for the mind that happiness is a necessity?
“Is the rich bimbo stoned or just stupid?”
an old man, radiant with rage, screams.
Perhaps everyone secretly admires
something momentous about himself,
with the mass and “inner life” of a cathedral,
in the tradition of the Spanish saints and mystics
who cherished the bliss of infinite sacrifice?
Perhaps this street remembers the loneliness
of war widows, the roll calls of absent names,
its first kisses on the corner of West Tenth Street,
the swooning confetti heat of victory,
the scalding springs of defeat? Indeed,
this street is a wave of advocacy
and streaming window peonies and tulips,
a fierce glimpse of history, an echoing
of nightly gunshots, a flag of black pigeons
flowing east toward the end of a continent,
a hunger for immortality, a tiny brusque city,
a bickering idea, a useless boutique,
a fertile song widening into a love for all that lives.
~by Philip Shultz (the New Yorker) May 18, 2009