“Reflections in Stalled Traffic” for David Ignatow


Poet’s Note:  On the drive into Manhattan from Queens, the highway swerves at a point that a large cemetery is in the foreground against the panorama of Manhattan buildings. That catches the eye and mind but at sunset the cemetery stones all cast a shadow, resulting in the toppled-dominoes effect. The irony of bodies at rest from autobodies in motion came to mind. The poem was originally written in a spirit, if that word is proper here, of dark humor. When I was asked to contribute to the anthology commemorating David Ignatow’s birthday, I submitted that poem because  I felt it was informed by the tone and irony that I believe I learned from his work. Three years later David died, and I decided to dedicate the poem to his memory, unexpectedly transforming the poem.

This poem, as noted above, was first published in a limited-print edition, For David Ignatow, An Anthology: Forty-Seven Poets Celebrate His 80th Birthday, edited by Robert Long, Publisher: Guild Hall, 1994

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