This sonnet first pleased Arnold Schnabel’s public in the June 15, 1963 issue of the “Olney Times”. Through internal evidence we can assume that Arnold is still vacationing with his mother at his aunts’ house on Perry Street, in Cape May, New Jersey.
Note that the accepted old-school Philadelphian pronunciation (or as Philadelphians would say, “pronounciation”) of the word Tuesday is “Toosdy”.
“Newman” doubtless refers to John Henry Cardinal Newman, whose Apologia Pro Vita Sua was found among Arnold’s books after his death, although it showed little sign of actually having been read. It should be noted that Arnold also had a complete collection of all the extant “Parker” novels of Richard Stark on his bookshelf, and indeed his untimely death apparently interrupted him midway through his reading of the most recent one at that time, The Sour Lemon Score.
(Rebroadcast by the courtesy of the Arnold Schnabel Society.)
“The Man With the Getaway Face”
I was browsing through the mysteries this Tuesday
(To not always read Newman is no disgrace),
When I espied a book that seemed to say, “Choose me.”
It was titled The Man With the Getaway Face;
I scurried home; well, to my aunts’ home, not mine,
And in a rocker on the porch I was soon hooked,
As, sipping my TaB, I read this first line:
“When the bandages came off Parker looked
In the mirror at a stranger.” How odd.
I read that sentence again, and thought: If I
Could change my face, would that please me, or God?
No; because behind the face would be the same sad guy.
What I need is someone to cut what’s inside my head away;
Then perhaps I too at last could make my getaway.
(For links to other even more disturbing poems from the prolific Bic pen of Arnold Schnabel, and to selections from his vast and previously unpublished memoir Railroad Train to Heaven, check the right hand column of this page.)