BOMBlog’s Word Choice features original works of poetry, fiction, and art. This edition of Word Choice, selected by Peter Moysaenko, features poetry by Thomas Devaney and art by Zoe Strauss.
Naming is, if not possession, a performance of memory, a ritual of empathy. Thomas Devaney here enunciates a shared smallness writ large, making place of space and era of time, fleshing out a momentariness in terms to stay our bodies.
The Blue Stoop
Who remembers the blue stoop?
I am laughing at the question—Who?
Everybody. All the names.
Like an early book of the Bible,
it isn’t just names, they go deep
and make three wide steps, three
very wide steps, an everywhere.
There is Franny and Tina.
Amy, Gary, and George. Dawn Ann
and her red-headed brother Bobby.
BA, Matthew, Paula, and Rob.
Tommy Fliss and all the Flisses.
Goddamn Steve Fliss. Steve
Anthony’s mother is leaning out the window.
Does she ever go out? Yes, every day.
She leans out the window all day long.
Anthony’s uncle played the trumpet.
Everybody knows that, but when we say
he played the trumpet
we mean he played with everybody.
Yes, Tony Bennett, but have you ever heard
of Al Martino? Guy Lombardo? People,
big bands—he played with them all,
and in some third-floor heaven he still is.
People say, Once upon a time a call was a dime.
They say more than I can say here.
They say, Don’t forget where you’re from,
but I don’t have to, because I never left.
Recently somebody said the blue stoop looks smaller
than it used to.
I guess they know what they’re talking about,
but don’t tell that to Michael, Michael, and Michael,
and a generation of Roses weaned on a fresh coat
of swimming pool paint every few years.
All the dirty kid faces that will never be clean.
Those are my faces.
Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read one poem by Thomas Devaney with art by Will Brown, selected by Daniel Moysaenko.
How open the parking spot
that takes us out of time.
Shift and reverse—
as seen through
of the rear window,
a need and skill met there
in a semi-blind act.
All that happened—
all that needed to happen.
Shall we simply sit here and stare?
Whichever year it was,
the make of the car
ten or twelve years
older than that.
All those years
in one: The one of the auto.
The one of the war.
The one of which side
of the street
did we park?
After the last argument,
the last silence
of the last two people
to hear it.
Together, that’s the light we are in.