A Topological Memoir

Penelope Bloodworth

Can we point to it? A time belonging to? A time bracketed. Broken into pieces.

…. and at night she analyzed it.

A list garnering


attending to duration as fuse

lit to follow

open to short list


rather years

              We walked, we saw, pointed to the windows, walked up to the windows, “look, look at

        that chair, that dress, that hat, that plate, those puppies, that table, that clock, those

        shoes, that giant aspirin, those movie posters, that painting, those books, those watches,

        that jewelry, that vase, those Japanese prints, That tie, that scarf, those pigments, that

        chess set”

        “Can we go in? Can we get ice cream? Can we go to the movies? Can we get Chinese food?

Can we go to John’s Pizza (I was almost born there)? Can we get desert? Chocolate cake? Can I

buy a book? Two? Can we eat hamburgers? Can we go to Elephant & Castle? Can I get hot

chocolate? Can I try on the hats? Can we get bread at Zito’s? Can we see Annie? A Chorus Line?

Tennessee Williams? Can we go to Greetings, can we go to West Fourth Street? Can we go to

              “Why don’t you go roller-skating, go to Macy’s, go to 8th Street, go to the movies, race

        up and down the stairs, do the laundry, go to the A&P, go to Balducci’s - see how the

        machine squeezes the oranges, see how the saw dust covers the floor, go to the movies,

        go to the book store, go to Patricia Field’s, she did the costumes for Grease – there was an

        article in Woman’s Wear Daily, Go to Ray’s, make friends with the pretty girl from the



I command antelopes to

dance and

they’re elegant

                     I can’t.


the way in

which the steps taken


Somewhere in the middle distance of our bones, like a WESTERN landscape

                                             the steps are there.

Hanged to tap soft sway, an earned migration.

“Ninth Street and Sixth Avenue” “Prince and Broadway” “Prince and Houston” “Christie and

Broome” “Mulberry and Grand” “Eleventh and Washington Street” “West Street and Christopher”

“Bank and Eleventh” “Twelfth Street and Eighth Avenue” “Jane Street off Eighth Avenue”

“Eighteenth and Eighth” “Thirty-seventh and Broadway” “Ninety-eighth and Broadway” “Seventy-

fourth and Madison” “Broadway and Seventy-second” “Seventh and C” “Ninth and D” “Greenwich

Ave. and Christopher” “I can get out here.” “Just on this corner.” “I can get out here.”

We rehearse our archive of knowledge; we cover our tracks.

“That’s where Jimi Hendrix recorded.”

“That’s where the Weathermen were making bombs in the basement and one blew up.”

“That’s where Roy Lichtenstein lives.”

“That’s where the Ravenite Social Club used to be.”

“I used to live there”

“You can still see the Yippy sign – see?”

“That’s where I went to school.”

“Dustin Hoffman lives on this block.”

“We used to go there all the time when it was a restaurant.”

“That was a dry cleaners for a long time but before that for a little while it was an ice cream

shop that made fresh waffle cones – they would put candy in the bottom of the cone.”

“That’s where William Kunstler lived.”

“I just saw Ed Koch!”

“That’s Max’s Kansas City.”

“That’s where the Mud Club was.”

“I just saw Lou Reed at The Bagel! Patty Smith at Le Gamin! Susan Sontag and Annie Leibovitz at

Florent! David Bowie at Hummus!

“Oh my God! That’s Andrew Crispo!”

“Why is Tom Jones posing for photographs in that little lot across the street?”

“That was the Factory.”

“Allen Ginsberg lives right over there.”

“John Giorno lives up there – that’s the Bunker.”

“That’s where my mom’s store was.”

“Your mom knew Johnny Jupiter?? We used to go there!”

“That’s where Ahimsa was, where Wendell’s was, where Books & Co was.”

“That used to be Bird Jungle.”

“Oh my God! Where did the Port Authority go? It’s gone!

        Oh... wait we’re on Seventh Avenue.”

“Ric Ocasek lives around here somewhere.”

“I used to live around here somewhere.”

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