Squibs 343-352 [by Alan Ziegler] – The Best American Poetry

343: Darkness falls but stops just short of my shoes, so I dance home, light on my feet. 344: One night Greenwich Village early-1960s Fat Black Pussycat, Tiny Tim opens for Richie Havens. A buck cover and another dollar gets you a burger. Tiny Tim (who has yet to record “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” or get married on the Tonight Show) plays ukulele and sings both voices of Paul and Paula’s “Hey Paula.” Richie Havens (who has yet to open Woodstock or play Clinton’s inauguration) muses at length about the wonders of watching a helicopter take off and dazzles us with his thumb-fretted open chording. 345: After a rough weekend, and a few drinks, she looked me in the eye, kissed me, and said, “You’re good.” Her stare glared and she added, “Too good.” 346: Mid-1980s I am helping someone I don’t know very well move into a downtown walk-up. While taking a breather leaning against the van, an acquaintance passes by and points to the boxes. “Moving in or out?” “Actually, helping Gerard Malanga move in.” “Let me get this straight,” she says. “You are helping a cult poet and Andy Warhol collaborator move.” She nods and goes on her way. 347: In the late-1950s my father went to bed at 8 to get up at 2 for his milk route. He often emerged, baggy boxers sleep-squinty eyes and, without a word, lower the T.V. volume and return to bed. He never lowered the volume before going to bed. 348: I have a blind date for homecoming weekend freshman year—football game, dinner, party. She’s not a student, lives in town with her family. I am smitten at first sight and throughout the game I try to impress her with my college wit. I walk her home so she can change for dinner. When I return and knock on her door, a man answers and says his daughter isn’t home. I fumfer that we’re in the middle of a date and he repeats with father sternness: “Young man, I told you she is not home.” But then there she is, nudging her father out of the way. “I am so sorry,” she says as she hands me a piece of paper as she closes the door. “This is my friend. Call her. She’s likes philosophers.” 349: In the 1970s I come across a small crowd in Central Park surrounding a man with a wagon and several cats. I love animal acts. I watch as he slowly convinces each cat to jump into the wagon. When they’re all lined up, he takes a bow, and then nothing. I ask someone applauding if I missed the act. She replies, “That is the act.” 350: One night Greenwich Village early-1960s Gaslight Café. The bill is John Hammond, Tom Paxton, and Phil Ochs. In the middle of Hammond’s set, he looks out at the audience and says there was a guy here last night, came up and played the harp with him. “Are you…
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