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Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese, dir.)
Columbus Circle, summer 1975
De Niro idles in his Checker. Cybill flirts behind
her Jackie-Os. Scorsese sucks oxygen from a tiny
tank trailed by an assistant. Albert Brooks hogs
the PA: When using the moving sidewalk,
please stand to the right, if you wish to pass, please
do so on the left. Over & over. Grips lay dolly track
for a shot we all know will never make the final cut
but will take most of the day to shoot.
Me in my 501s & Mighty Mouse T-shirt,
20 feet up, work gloves & pliers protruding,
the brute arc light I tend sputters & hisses
beside me. Like that famous New Yorker cover
showing the world as seen from 9th avenue––
the land of make believe rises up
to swallow me whole.
I try to lean as if belonging against
the unsteady rungs of my ladder––oblivious
to the real world down there too––
passing me by; most, jaded New Yorkers,
their eyes on the prize, but maybe some
looking up & wondering what’s that girl doing
up there in the sky––flying so close to the sun?
Some kind of myth. With pliers.
copyright 2015 Celeste Gainey
from The Gaffer, a collection of poems by Celeste Gainey, published by Arktoi