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Bill Kushner reads from Walking After Midnight

Here Bill reads Robert Frost from his book, Walking After Midnight, at the Poetry Project’s New Year’s Day Marathon at Saint Mark’s Church, NYC, 2014. Walking After Midnight was published by Spuyten Duyvil, NYC, 2011.

Bill recorded I’ll Be Seeing You at my place on Saturday, March 2, 2013, just before we sat down to some of my indefatigable Chicken Cacciatore prepared with the right ingredients and then simmered: sort of like a poem.

After seeing the Basquiat show on Friday in Chelsea, out in the hallway of a building that is full of art galleries around the corner on 11th Avenue, I filmed Bill reading Moon from his book Walking After Midnight, which I’d brought along, just for that very purpose. People kept interrupting us, but it was fun. Then I decided to read a poem too. The one across the page from Moon, The Park Near Closing.

Walking after Midnight is published by Spuyen Duyvil. You can check them out here:


Here for the fun of it is Bill reciting a poem he had just written that morning called Neighbors. It was Saturday, August 17, muggy on the Lower East Side. We had just had lunch at a Chinese restaurant, me General Tsao’s Chicken and Bill tofu and broccoli; we were on our way to a gay bookstore called BGSQD (The Bureau of General Services—Queer Division) that reminds me of Giovanni’s Room in Philly when it first opened in the 1970s. It’s an art gallery bookstore at 27 Orchard Street that has a lot of self published chapbooks and artists’ art on the walls. There I’ll buy Adam Fitzgerald’s The Late Parade; I’m a slow reader, but let me tell you the first poem, Cathedral, is very good.

My neighbor oh my neighbor he
he’s a funny guy. Not funny ha-ha
but still he he’s a funny guy. Once
“Once I wanted to be a priest,” he
softly whispered to me on the stairway,
and then when we got outside he quickly
turned and he went right and so I stopped
and so I began to follow him in the falling
daylight along the crowded avenues, and
then I saw him go into the Blue Store, the
store that has all the clocks from all over
the world in its windows, so that you always
know what time it is if you happen to find
yourself in London or Paris or perhaps Rome.
So there I was and so I went quickly into it
and it was empty, The Blue Store was empty,
as I began to wander down one aisle and up
another aisle, staring at all the boxes of all
the men, most of them naked, and their wet
eyes of endless longing. But where had he
gone, my whispering neighbor, had he gone
up to heaven, or he gone straight down the
stairway to hell? I tell you that I never ever
saw him again, and when I went outside, it
was long past midnight on all the tick tock
clocks of all of the world, and the dark empty
streets, and I really should have been home,
and so I hurried home.

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