Out of nowhere just the other day I started thinking about this movie in which a bearded Alan Bates plays an abstract painter, enjoying a painterly affair with Jill Clayburgh; I remember liking it at the time, even though part of me said perhaps it was a load of old technicolour tosh. Admitting to having not just enjoyed it, but seen it twice, certainly marked me down in the estimation of the one of my American Studies lecturers I most wanted to impress.
But back then I was more than a little in love with New York, with big, bold abstract canvasses, and, yes, of course, with Ms Clayburgh herself.
So here’s an old poem for National Poetry Day.
It was snowing in New York but that was Easter;
we walked past the rink where Clayburgh skated
in An Unmarried Woman, ate hot pretzels
and stood in line for pasta and clam sauce.
(can you still taste that?)
I can’t recall what I wanted for dessert
except the waiter said, “That’s disgusting!”
and refused to take my order.
Later we cruised the Village, hands
punched down into our pockets,
Kevin and I browsing the schedules
at the Bleecker Street Cinema
while you went next door into
the Magic Shoe Store and bought
a pair of bright scarlet boots
yes (you say) oh, yes
– from Out of Silence: New & Selected Poems (Smith/Doorstop) 2014