February 22, 2012
My mother loved New York.
From the Plaza to the Yankees
Speeding up and down in taxis
In the course of making fashion
New York was her life
Her family were the ones who crafted
Hidden magic for her clothes
The man who owned the button store.
And the man on Fifty Seventh Street
Two doors from hers
Who sold fine thread and things and once
Or maybe more, was threatened
By the Mafia (he said he did not pay).
And right across the street
Was Jerry Brown, the fabric man
Who told her all the latest Halston gossip
(There was plenty, and they loved it.)
Once she took me deep downtown
To a little known and special place
Up many dark and dusty steps
Behind a creaking door
And through the cobwebs
Where an ancient father and his unkempt daughter
Fashioned famous, lovely silken flowers.
I remember waterfalls of colored wax
On all the chairs.
My mother always introduced me
To her people with such a pride
I'd love to hear again.
Even the women beamed back at her.
In her world, so rich with stars
She shone with brightness all her own
I, a star of lesser magnitude, felt larger in the glow
They called her Mrs. B
And she was someone.
All her people now are gone.
The little stores all disappeared. The trade
Has all moved on. And she herself
Is in LA, in a pleasant place, with ducks
And where they call her, Margie
And ask about her little dog
And think she is aloof
Because she won't play cards.