The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday and International Spy Museum

On 52nd Street
By Philip Levine

Down sat Bud, raised his hands,
the Deuces silenced, the lights
lowered, and breath gathered
for the coming storm. Then nothing,
not a single note. Outside starlight
from heaven fell unseen, a quarter-
moon, promised, was no show,
ditto the rain. Late August of '50,
NYC, the long summer of abundance
and our new war. In the mirror behind
the bar, the spirits--imitating you--
stared at themselves. At the bar
the tenor player up from Philly, shut
his eyes and whispered to no one,
"Same thing last night." Everyone
been coming all week long
to hear this. The big brown bass
sighed and slumped against
the piano, the cymbals held
their dry cheeks and stopped
chicking and chucking. You went
back to drinking and ignored
the unignorable. When the door
swung open it was Pettiford
in work clothes, midnight suit,
starched shirt, narrow black tie,
spit shined shoes, as ready
as he'd ever be. Eyebrows
raised, the Irish bartender
shook his head, so Pettiford eased
himself down at an empty table,
closed up his Herald Tribune,
and shook his head. Did the TV
come on, did the jukebox bring us
Dinah Washington, did the stars
keep their appointments, did the moon
show, quartered or full, sprinkling
its soft light down? The night's
still there, just where it was, just
where it'll always be without
its music. You're still there too
holding your breath. Bud walked out.


I'm sure something worth reporting happened on Monday but I'm distracted right now watching Ian McKellen on The Daily Show so I can't remember what. I know there was some work and some laundry and some looking up tablets that I might get with my Chanukah and birthday money -- I did not spend any money for Cyber Monday, does that mean I am bad for the American economy? We lit six candles but we've given each other our presents already; Rosie is feeling better, which is a good present!

I did spend $3 on Black Friday because having owned Dan Brown's Inferno for months, I haven't wanted to lug the book around to read, that's how Kindle-converted I am, so when the eBook got super-cheap, I bought it. I'm not at all enthralled but I figure, hey, I read Les Mis this year, I am entitled to some pure junk reading. We watched Almost Human, which I am enjoying, and Monday Night Football, which was lopsided in the Seahawks' favor. Some more Spy Museum pics:

An example of a bug hidden in a photo in a government office. We saw one like this on The Americans.

Here is something they should have on The Americans -- surveillance hidden in a tree stump.

But I'm really fine with them not going into details about tool kits designed to be hidden in rectums.

And I'm even more fine with no use of rectal cyanide capsules (this one was modeled on the one Hermann Goering used to kill himself).

A Tessina camera designed to be hidden in what looks like a cigarette pack.

This pen was designed to hold a Tropel camera which could also be concealed in a cigarette lighter.

This Canadian lighter-concealing-a-camera looks more Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to me.

Look, you can see Adam's reflection as he admires this coat concealing a camera in the top right button!

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