From Issue 21: For Kurt

Andrey Gritsman

I am sitting at McSorley’s
alone. He is late.
Raining, and cabs are scarce,
I guess.
Notes GIs left before
embarking for Europe,
1917, still stuck behind the bar.
GIs, who never came back
to McSorley’s.
I am sure he’ll show up
shortly.
Candles dying slowly,
trembling, melting.
The beer is straw-colored,
strong, eternal.
I am on the second one,
thinking of his 6th Ave. poem,
Then leaving, wandering,
stopping at Pete’s by O’Henry’s table.
Then Union Square Market,
inspecting gladioli from LI nurseries.
Another drink at Algonquin,
Chelsea, thinking of those greats
ended up flying from their windows
to the pavement of the 14th Street.
All the way down to Cornelia.
Red-faced Robin, raconteuring
at the bar after tasting
new delivery of Sancerre.
Angelo, absentmindedly
nursing his cold cigar,
his quiet, sad smile lives by itself
in time and space.

But Kurt is not there,
hasn’t come yet, getting dark.
And then I realize—
he is also looking for me
in some other domains.

 

 Andrey Gritsman, a native of Moscow, immigrated to the United States in 1981. He is a physician, a poet and essayist and has published several volumes of poetry and essays in both languages. Poems, essays, and short stories in English have appeared in over ninety literary journals and were anthologized. Andrey Gritsman edits the international poetry magazine in Russian Interpoezia.

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