Friday, April 6, 2012


In our continuing celebration of National Poetry Month, we present one of the very few of Arnold Schnabel’s extant poems which was not published in his own lifetime in the weekly Philadelphia neighborhood paper The Olney Times, an uncharacteristically grim sonnet apparently (as recounted in Chapter 227 of Schnabel’s memoir Railroad Train to Heaven) composed ex tempore as he rode in a stolen, speeding, 1956 Mark II Lincoln Continental with a gang of young hoodlums on Bleecker Street, in New York’s Greenwich Village, on a rainy night in August of 1957.

-- Dan Leo, Associate Professor of Classics, Assistant Gym Supervisor, Olney Community College, editor of An Arnold Schnabel Concordance (3 volumes); Olney Community College Press.



Driving through night-time streets of doom
Through this warm and dirty rain
Past buildings fraught with gloom
In a car more powerful than pain,
Driving through a life filled with death
With a brain filled with madness
Through a world filled with the breath
Of the forgotten and the hopeless,

I drive through a narrow tunnel reeking
Of the stale odor of human piss,
Racing into a future I am not seeking
Out of a past that no longer exists;
To return to my home was all that I wanted
But instead I drive on: haunted, hunted.

illustrations by roy dismas
a "rhoda penmarq studios production"

(Published in somewhat different from in flashing by.)

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