: Edward Hopper (1930) :
an excerpt by Arthur Vogelsang
Slim pickings on the street yesterday
And now it's today.
On the bus, an argument about mercy.
It wasn't two old codgers
Making the mouth racket
Over the shifting of the big GM gears
And with the inspiration of taxi horns
In discord just below us.
It was one person who spoke both sides-
Better to give mercy, best to receive mercy?
Some of the riders were interested to eavesdrop,
Especially when he asked himself
Whether the donor or the recipient
Would feel pain, without the mercy,
Or, then, genius madman, he asked himself
If one or each would feel pain
With or without the mercy.
I counted sixteen possible outcomes
And might have spoken to him but
Had to get off, the stop at that window
Where two bare mannequins were waiting
The day before yesterday, and still waited.
They have the ballet in this town, huzzah,
They have plays uptown and downtown, thanks be,
And there is an eastside and a westside
For ships and bookstores, Jewish food,
And exotic martinis if you need one once
In a while, hooray. All the men wear grey
And all the women wear burgundy and black.