Early Morning at the West Side Y

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For Glenn Raucher

My God! The man with long white hair

waiting for an elevator on the thirteenth floor

is Edgar Winter, blear-eyed from a night

spent raising the roof at the Fillmore East.

Maybe we’re seeing things, maybe we’re

still high on the Sixties. But no, it really

is him, Edgar Winter in the flesh. There

are calluses on his fingers, his pupils

are musical notes. We follow him

down to the small café off the lobby,

stand behind him in the buffet line,

and take the small square black table

adjacent to his, an intermittent cool

breeze blowing in through the window.

For a half hour we sip our coffee,

nibble on muffins, and out of the corners

of our eyes watch The Legend sip his,

simultaneously skimming through the Times.

They don’t believe in superstition here,

we remind ourselves, picturing him standing

before the window on the thirteenth floor,

Central Park below him, and beyond

Manhattan’s skyline, spectral and beautiful.

Superstition is as dead as the architect

of this old building and there is no such

thing as ghosts and this is Edgar Winter,

but when he pushes his long white hair

back, deposits his paper coffee cup

in a trash receptacle, and shuffles out

 

and disappears among the excruciatingly

New York faces floating down 63rd Street,

we are dismayed. Superstition is dead,

but everywhere we look there are ghosts.


Photo by Craig O’neal

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About Author

George Drew was born in Mississippi and lives in upstate New York. He is the author of five collections, most recently The View from Jackass Hill, winner of the 2010 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press, 2011. His sixth, Fancy’s Orphan, will be published in 2015 by Tiger Bark Press; his chapbook, Down & Dirty, in June, 2015 by Texas Review Press. Recently Drew was an Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and his poem will appear in the Paterson Literary Review; another poem was a finalist for the Knightville Poetry Contest and will appear in The New Guard; another was the winner of the St. Petersburg Review Poetry Contest and will appear in Issue 8; one of his Southern poems was selected for inclusion in the anthology Down to the Dark River and will be published in 2015 by Louisiana Literature Press.

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