The Ghost of the City of New York Appears in California, May 25, 1971

By Sotère Torregian Sotere Torregian
It's all in a day's work   the door from Life to Death

Muhammed Ali comes in one door   and Russ Meyer comes in
    t' uther     While Ali
          Stages a CONFAB at 11.00 AM but doesn't
show all the cameras and tape-recorders are left

With their tongues hanging out in the heat
Under the veranda I just recoveredd from food-poisoning & look up

        How'd you doo
It is prophetic I meet a child born at the same hour
and day as my oldest child
I learn   your Anglo   grandfather became the
Of Alexandria “for all the Greeks downunder”

MOHAMMED ALI GIVES his speech finally “On the
         Intoxications OF
         LIFE” (That's for Real, Folks) and tells one girl
sitting up near the stage to
pull her dress down because it was “showing”
above her knee   That's it it's all Over wham boom!

Now Russ MEYER must be the “greatest” genius of America (?)
His “genius” lies   in that he is the only one to successfully
make blood spurt from a victim
on the silver screen like a slide trombone carying a hilarious note

                                      .... So
many things have happened   The People's Liberation Army 
has seized the Israeli Ambassador ('Ray'.)   Bedford-
Stuyvesant exploded again   (I wonder what's happening
on Killens' block?)   and lava has overflowed on  (Mt) Aetna (again)
    Can't    keep upt with it all
This Hermaphrodite   running up and down the stairs with
a sword   Hey!
The doors slam open  the crowds emerge
Like an age ashamed of itself
Like an elephant with a  caulifflower ear      Some are doing

           A St. Vitus dance and shooting fireworks
out of cactus-launchers

You come toward me like a diffident haystack
I'm talking to you all the time you pretend not to hear me
You're with your two pals   (One of them the “returned” of the Boogey Woogies)   the road parts us   like a part in the hair
of the whole Earth   and splits me with it
The stars make a sound like a tuning-folk
Maybe I'm learning anew lanaguage to speak a newlanguage Maybe

What is this   Cult of the Fedora hat
and the jalopy of the heart
Rose of Lima   Unbeliever that I am  I believe in you so much

“Plebiscite”              “Dolores”


                              “Quitting Time”
          Washerwomen in the elephant grass   're listening

Once again I come upon an evening 5,000 mi. away from (New York)
the mirage of “The City” become so obsessive
    I see Skyscrapers appear moving through the fog
on horses' legs!
    “With no interjection..., oh?
New York  my poems are always an elegy to you
The horses see me coming
the horses smell the sunset wing whiteshadow
still rides on it
    Gold-club-headed exorcized Jewish demons
happily hopping backwards

                                                                 May 25, 1971
                                                     2405 Alpine Road, Ca.

Sotere Torregian, "The Ghost of the City of New York Appears in California, May 25, 1971" from “I Must Go” (She Said) “Because My Pizza’s Cold”. Copyright © 2002 by Sotere Torregian.  Reprinted by permission of Skanky Possum.

Source: “I Must Go” (She Said) “Because My Pizza’s Cold” (Skanky Possum, 2002)

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Poet Sotère Torregian


SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Subjects Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Sotère  Torregian


Sotère Torregian is an American poet, born in Newark, New Jersey on June 25, 1941. He attended Rutgers University, and taught briefly at the Free University of New York and Stanford University, where he helped establish the Afro-American studies program in 1969. In the mid-1960s he was associated with the New York School of poets. At that time he proposed a kind of American “orthodox Surrealism” (following the dictates of André . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Cities & Urban Life


SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School (2nd Generation)

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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