Saturday, December 31, 2016

"New Year’s Eve on Chew Avenue"

Railroad Train to Heaven, the first volume of the memoirs of Arnold Schnabel, will soon be available at long last in a handsome large-format paperback edition, as well as an “e-book”, but in the meantime, and in lieu of any new episodes of Arnold’s chef-d'œuvre at this time, we present again one of our hero’s most beloved sonnets, originally published in the Olney Times for January 4, 1963; two weeks later he would be in a padded cell at the Philadelphia State Mental Hospital at Byberry.

New Year’s Eve on Chew Avenue

It’s New Year’s Eve, it seems we’ve made it,
if only barely, through another year;
the terror, if not gone, has abated
into a dull and grey persistent fear.
My mother’s sound asleep by eleven,
so I go to the VFW,
shove to the bar of this drunkard’s heaven,
and say, “Pat, if you please, I’ll trouble you
for a Schmidt’s, backed with an Old Forester,
and keep them coming till I say not to,
or until you throw me out; whatever;
do what your conscience says that you’ve got to.”
I take that first sacred drink of cold beer:
“Happy new (let’s hope it’s not our last) year.”

(New episodes of Arnold’s adventures will appear in the coming year, and, who knows, perhaps even poems.)

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