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To Frank O’Hara
Sometimes when my eyes are red
I go up on top of the RCA Building
and gaze at my world, Manhattan—
my buildings, streets I’ve done feats in,
lofts, beds, coldwater flats
—on Fifth Ave below which I also bear in mind,
its ant cars, little yellow taxis, men
walking the size of specks of wool—
Panorama of the bridges, sunrise over Brooklyn machine,
sun go down over New Jersey where I was born
& Paterson where I played with ants—
my later loves on 15th Street,
my greater loves of Lower East Side,
my once fabulous amours in the Bronx
paths crossing in these hidden streets,
my history summed up, my absences
and ecstasies in Harlem—
—sun shining down on all I own
in one eyeblink to the horizon
in my last eternity—
matter is water.
I take the elevator and go
and walk on the pavements staring into all man’s
questioning after who loves,
and stop, bemused
in front of an automobile shopwindow
standing lost in calm thought,
traffic moving up & down 5th Avenue blocks behind me
waiting for a moment when …
Time to go home & cook supper & listen to
the romantic war news on the radio
… all movement stops
& I walk in the timeless sadness of existence,
tenderness flowing thru the buildings,
my fingertips touching reality’s face,
my own face streaked with tears in the mirror
of some window—at dusk—
where I have no desire—
for bonbons—or to own the dresses or Japanese
lampshades of intellection—
Confused by the spectacle around me,
Man struggling up the street
with packages, newspapers,
ties, beautiful suits
toward his desire
Man, woman, streaming over the pavements
red lights clocking hurried watches &
movements at the curb—
And all these streets leading
so crosswise, honking, lengthily,
stalked by high buildings or crusted into slums
thru such halting traffic
screaming cars and engines
so painfully to this
countryside, this graveyard
on deathbed or mountain
never regained or desired
in the mind to come
where all Manhattan that I’ve seen must disappear.
— New York, October 1958
Reds. Oranges. Yellows.
Pizza slices, barber shops, taxis, training home. Stunning. A touch Mad Men. A touch Revolutionary Road.
Saul Leiter started shooting color and black-and-white street photography in New York in the 1940s. He had no formal training in photography, but the genius of his early work was quickly acknowledged by Edward Steichen, who included Leiter in two important MoMA shows in the 1950s. MoMA’s 1957 conference “Experimental Photography in Color” featured 20 color photographs by Leiter.
Some real still beauties.
From Wiki: On the Bowery is a 1956 American documentary film directed by Lionel Rogosin. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
After the Second World War Lionel Rogosin made a vow to fight fascism and racism wherever he found it. In 1954 he left the family business (Beaunit Mills-American Rayon Corp.) in order to make films in accordance with his ideals. As he needed experience, he looked around for a subject and was struck by the men on the Bowery and decided that this would make a strong film. Thus On the Bowery was to be Rogosin’s provocative film school that would prepare him for the filming of his anti apartheid film: Come Back, Africa (1960).
In 2008, On the Bowery was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”