Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PTSW - The Yawn

We spent Christmas week visiting with our daughter in Queens. Her employers live in a several story apartment building right on Queens Boulevard at a stop on the 7 Train at Sunnyside.

The 7 Train travels the elevated tracks down Queens Boulevard
in Sunnyside, right past the famous Sunnyside archway.
Photo by Terrell Shaw

The husband is a restaurant manager in a Manhatten luxury hotel. The wife is a soprano with the Metropolitan Opera. They own the apartment where they live with their two little girls for whom my daughter is the nanny. Downstairs and across the courtyard they rent a studio apartment as a place for the wife to teach voice. That little apartment was our home during our stay.
Brannon lives a mile or so away in Astoria between two Greek Othodox churches near an N Train stop.
All of that to explain that a good bit of our time last week was spent on the 7 Train ...
The Empire State Building from Queens. Photo by Terrell Shaw

... and the N Train and other trains commuting into Manhatten for shopping, shows, sightseeing, and Christmas Eve worship. As an inveterate people watcher I enjoyed our time on the train. I suppose Paul Blackburn did too. He captures a moment on a train from Queens in "The Yawn" from his book of poems, The Cities. (Should Paul Blackburn's heirs happen upon my little blog, I hope they will accept a plug for these books as an adequate exchange for the use of his poem. Every home should have a few books of poetry. Go buy one.)
The Yawn

The black-haired girl
with the big
on the Queen’s train coming
in to work, so
opens her mouth so beautifully
in a ya-aawn, that
two stops after she has left the train
I have only to think of her and I
wow !

by Paul Blackburn
For Christmas, besides the trip to New York, I gave myself a book of poetry: Poetry 180. The anthology is the outgrowth of the Poetry 180 website founded by Billy Collins, a collection of contemporary poetry that Collins gathered with high-schoolers in mind. Perhaps that says something about my maturity level. I have really enjoyed it. "The Yawn" is poem number 175 in the book.

Since this little poem deals with a pretty girl from Queens (though her hair and eyes are wrong) and since I happen to know a pretty girl who lives in Queens, I thought I'd share it.

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