Still Water Prose Poems

Copyright @ 1989 by Arthur Garfunkel
ISBN 0-525-24795-5
Used by persmission of Author - All Rights Reserved

17

I forget the thread New York makes through my life ­a taxi
down Park Avenue brings a flood of ancient memories:

Fifty-third and Winter of '62. I was at Columbia in
those days. The Placement Office had this Christ-
mas job in the Seagrams Building. Too poor not to
make money at Christmastime, I applied for the job
and got it... So there I was­in the basement,
sorting packages­No, there we were, old Lionel
Wick and me trying to get him to teach me Italian.
We didn't care what we seemed like, to us we were
working in Mies' space, contained by the traver-
tine...

                                                    walk me down Park,
pass Carnal Knowledge to

September, '69 and Fifty-first. I was recording
"Bridge over Troubled Water" for CBS. Columbia
back then. Over three hundred takes of my vocals
are in the can, I can't get the first verse to properly
set up the last which is done (which I like). On a
break from the mike, I take my frustration to a
church down the block, St. Bartholomew's Greek
Orthodox­you've seen it there, set back a bit...
So there I was in a pew facing east, seven years later
and two blocks south, not exactly praying in the
afternoon. I didn't care what I looked like, I was
listening to You, containing the music.

I love this town. But nothing did I ever love as much as Her...
so who cares that the show must go on or that sadness fits for
the part?

We were shooting the final scene: an actor comes out
of the Waldorf-Astoria, 1979. He passes his star from
Vienna and sees the new scar on her neck. He gets
into a taxi... There I am leaving Park and Fiftieth,
joining the uptown flood. Beyond irony, the camera-
man's eye on a level with me, I am looking back at
the recent past, drawing the thread.


New York CityMarch 1984