I was tapped by Marian Kent for a personal challenge. Write a poem evoking, sited in, or inspired by the bohemian New York City of Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe (late 60's/early 70's). She gave me a lengthy list of possibilities… but the ending idea is probably what I grasped … "so long as what you write gets its inspiration here". I must say, the 70's nor NYC are my favorite topics and I never would have written about them if left on my own. However, I did enjoy the photo archives I posted below this poem.
"Before Trendy" - NYC 1970
There is a shine to innocence
reminiscent of a perfectly rounded red apple
before the bite, before one negotiates price
above a crime-filled subway
or takes a ride
to New York's Eden
of peep shows & Paradise House
with five tempting Eves.
Boho's a lifestyle
without a thought towards chic,
co-exists beside Bowery bums
sprawled, huddled, & homeless.
Who can afford innocence
when bankruptcy looms
above Brooklyn's "skid row",
stoops filled with glum & jobless?
Musicians stroll, can in hand,
beg a few coins, for that's all it takes
for a toke to escape
from the shirtless among litter
& identity unknown,
upon Central Park bench,
observing muggings & rapes.
Lower East Side - raw,
unforgiving, an apple tarnished,
sweetness soured, discarded
in Hell's Kitchen
& the dreamers
have not been warned.
by Margaret Bednar, March 6, 2014 Art Happens 365
|"Trendy Lower East Side 2014" by Chelsea Bednar|
HERE is a fascinating blog all about NYC "chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts. Enjoy.
"Museum of the City of New York" - an amazing sight of over 135,000 images and objects of NYC. Below is a partial image of "Hell's Kitchen" - I don't believe 1970. To get the full image, you must go to the link above.