Subway Seizures

Poems by Thor Rinden

Published 2009

The Print Center, Inc.
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 206-8465

The Print Center is a non-profit facility for literature and arts-related publications.


Particles of blue pigment anchor
after a quick, water-borne trip to paper
and a brush with indecision.

Pleased to be cast as a shadow,
they lie undetected,
moored beside a pool of red and yellow
mistaken for an apple.


Everything started sliding downhill at the Guggenheim last night.
I was looking cockeyed at a fractured Braque
when two or three cylindrical Leger’s rolled past.
I began feeling a bit lopsided, too, heavier so it seemed, on the right.
Watch out for the Gris! warned my left eye, suddenly,
and sure enough, a cascading assemblage of cracked cups,
saucers, bottles, and guitars clattered by.
I was now toppling down the ramp myself,
pursued by shattered sections of Delaunay’s "Eiffel Tower"
and flying black pieces of "The Brooklyn Bridge" by Albert Gleizes.
The velocity of my descent was greatly increased
by two Severini’s racing around the inclined bend.
Nothing could stop the avalanche now.
Everything landed on the ground floor with a crash.
We became a smoldering cubist heap of brown and black,
an Analytic Picasso by Frank Lloyd Wright.


Giddy butterfly, incandescent,
dancing through archways lit with
blossoms, over neon gardens set
into lawns of marquee white,

fanciful flower frilly in lace,
reclining while dining, wriggling
up whimsical tea-cup toasts for
her sister-saints in three sips,

the playful Miss Flora Proscenium
draped in cellophane, a billowy
Cathedral of Charm, exquisite
violet shrinking into the wings.


Dear old blue jacket
well bred on Savile Row
companion at Etruscan sights
blanket for Ionic nights
some twenty years ago.

Be well, old navy chum
all those accessories tolerated
no objections or questions why
befriending all manner of shirt and tie
with whom you kindly mated.

Hang in there, old double-breasted friend
those twenty years inside your arms
hugging yards of worsted twill
sheltering shoulders from the chill
have only added to your charms.

MoMA, vat’s dis stuff?

Unter der linen vas der vooden
sticken togeder mit der gluten.
Und zay vas plastered to booten!
Some pair vas dis to beginen!
Ober der linen und der vooden vas der primer,
it says so it vas gesso so I guess so.
Some hatchen mit scratchen vas draften, too,
und piddlen und puddlen like birdie-doo.
Vat kind der kunst ve got here?
Vell, ve got rows und rows der patchen painten,
und ve got eine kleine arrows inken.
Vat else ve got who could say?
Some kitchen sink kunstler vas dis Paul Klee!

Subway Seizures

August 1985
Stone Harbor, New Jersey