Vincent Bell, 9/3/2018
Current Occupation: Poet
Former Occupation: Financial Manager // Management Consultant
Your Short Biographical Statement: I have degrees from NYU and Fordham and have been studying at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center with Jennifer Franklin and taken courses with Michael Patrick Collins and Chris Campanioni. Recent publications include poems in an anthology “Live At The Freight House” and the June 2018 issue of Offcourse, an online journal. I live in Ardsley with my wife and I have two grown children.
VIEW FROM A GREEN BOX
During the last century,
I worked in a newsstand
against the library by the Flushing line
for my blind uncle.
It was park green and cramped,
too cold then too hot.
Mornings all the parts were inside,
at night they were back inside again.
We sold papers and magazines.
The papers were on a shelf in the front,
then magazines on a counter, and finally
a wooden change tray that held
nickels, dimes and quarters
and occasional pennies.
It was shiny smooth sanded
by decades of fingers.
Folding money went in my apron pocket.
It was a simple operation
open only to sell 3 evening papers
all telling the same stories differently.
I worked alone except for help at 4,
when I had a break, peed and ate.
From 4:30 to 6 it was frantic,
making change on the fly,
scooping coins into wooden bowls,
banding bills and rolling change.
I wore dark sun glasses.
People thought I was blind too.
The world passed in front
day after week after year.
It was like a game at a fair –
a sidewalk, a big street,
another sidewalk and then buildings.
Buses came from the left and went to the right
on the other side right to left.
The Times Square tourists came back and forth
always asking for the same directions.
The world went by whether I was looking or not.
Like on and off a carousel.
Every human walked by in a day
After time we saw patterns.
I was amazed how much
my uncle saw with no eyes.
175 West 12th Street’s
lobby always smelled
as if it had just been mopped.
The fabric of his uniform
was coarse grey wool
with faded ornamental
white piping on the collar
and near his wrists.
The gloves slid nicely under his cuffs
when he pushed the door open
as they came and went;
some of them
huddled under the canopy
until he corralled their cab.
People generally thanked
you with a dollar,
without seeing your face.