Aesthetic Realism Looks at New York City: Poetry


Martha Baird


Balzac In Bloomingdale's

Two weeks before Christmas
I went to Bloomingdale's Department Store
And was engulfed by the department store feeling:
"There are too many things here
And too many people,
All of them NOT ME.
Let me scream
Or run home.
This is no place for me."

Bloomingdale's Department Store brought to mind
Balzac. He would not have screamed
Or run home. Balzac would have said:
"Every object on the counters
Means something.
Every person
Has a life.
This means something to ME.
Nothing has so many things
As the full, glorious world!
I embrace it, I adore it --
Let me see more of it, and more!
This is how I thrive!"

So Balzac spoke to me in Bloomingdale's.
So I made my purchase like a civilized person,
And went home
Like a civilized person.
A true friend brings out one's strength,
Not one's ego.
A true friend makes one like the world.
Balzac has been a true friend to me, and so
You'd better not say anything bad about Balzac
If I'm around.


From Nice Deity (New York: Definition Press, 1955)