August 5, 2015

Martin H. Levinson


Where is Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellenbogen she said as we motored down the Long Island Expressway and I said
where is it written that I have to answer your crazy questions and she said
where did I put my makeup purse and black mascara and I said
where did I go wrong in life that I have to continually listen to a woman talking to herself and she said 
where is the pretzel stick that I gave you to save for me this morning and I said 
where is the nearest insane asylum I can drive you to, to get you treated and she said
where do you get off talking to me like that and I said
where do you think you are, in a chauffeured limo with a driver who will cater to your every whim and she said
where can I hit you that will leave no marks and not cause us to crash and I said
where are the quarters that I left in the glove compartment to pay the tolls and she said
where oh where have his little coins gone oh where oh where can they be and I said
where they are is where I put them unless someone placed them somewhere else and she said
where do you think that would be Sherlock and I said
where do you think a person who doesn’t care about taking things and not replacing them would put the money and she said
where the hell are we and I said
where we have always been and she said
where is that and I said
where that is, is for me to know and you to find out and she said
where is the next rest stop I need to get out of the car and I said
where can a guy go to get some peace around here and she said
where there’s no human beings around like Mars and I said
where did we go off the rails on this trip and she said
where we went off was when we met ten years ago and I said
where do you think you’ll be ten years from now and she said
where I can wake up happy and not be hassled by you and I said 
where exactly do you think that would be and she said
Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellenbogen by the sea.

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015
Tribute to New Yorkers


Martin H. Levinson: “I agree with Fran Lebowitz who said, ‘When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough.’ I have lived in New York City for 68 years and writing poetry has helped me to make sense of this wacky, wonderful, wicked place. ‘Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellenbogen by the Sea’ involves a conversation on the LIE (Long Island Expressway). I enjoy writing poems and the trouble with poetry is that it encourages the writing of more poetry. That’s what Billy Collins said and I concur. Please excuse me while I go back to my desk.” (web)

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