Dear Readers,

Check out this oddity. I was reading back issues of Esquire Magazine
while at work the other day. I guess I should say back, back, back
issues...we're talking mid to late 1930's. Did you know that Esquire
to have prominent writers work for them? Each issue contained reviews,
stories, op-ed, etc. But also several short stories by the likes of
Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Dos Passos, and at least one
"serious" poem.

I am seeking serious feedback on the one below, because I am not sure
the "towers" are, nor am I sure of the speaker's point-of-view. But I
know this: though the poem was printed in the
April 1936 issue, it's dang weird to read it today. You might be
interested to know that its author, Richard Aldington (A dildo-grinch
rant), was the husband to one Hilda Doolittle--whom we've known in
pages as "H.D." I hope you enjoy this poem as much as you did your
Thanksgiving weekend, i.e., very much!


I knew that American emigre--
Once there was something to him.
Now he is a middle-aged sophomore
Bawling out the ghosts of dead profs.
Shifts on his hunkers in a gondolier's tenement
And writes "American Notes"
From last month's TIMES and LEDGER...

Towers of Manhattan!
America is not static,
America is incommeasurable;
It is a dream only half-true,
It is energy almost pointless
Asking itself impatiently "Whither next?"
It is comfort discouraged about being comfortable,
It is Mesozoic and crashingly up-to-date,
It is forty thousand phrases and wise-cracks,
But it is not the "American" note of emigres.

Towers of Manhattan!
I the stranger, the alien, the hereditary enemy,
Coming to you with suspicion and a little fear,
I can at least feel sure of this:
Your emigres are those without courage
Who could not face your hard dynamics,
Dared not attempt your roaring whirlpool,
Pioneers of funk and failure.

Towers of Manhattan!
In a way I am sorry I walk among you
A stranger, and yet I am glad
Not to be a son of your large and noisy house.
Home of many wanderers,
You are no home for me.

I have glimpsed your girls, your Jews, your Negroes--
Strange juggleries of alien chromosomes--
Your luxuries and squalors,
Your red and gold neon signs,
The vistas of your ravines;
Sensed the baseness, the bunk, the greed...

Yet, in the evening,
Looking back from the long bridges--
Towers of Manhattan!
Why so wistful, why so uncertain
In the cool blue haze,
Why so ashamed of the new visible body
Uttering a strange new soul?

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