Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Furrier and Me

Tuesday I wore that small and pretty feathered hat
Kathy and later Judy asked, where did you
buy that hat? It was oblong, covering only
the top of my head in a thick four inch band
that curved cylindrically down to my ears

Rightly it seemed they should've asked, when
did you buy that hat, because it was nearly twenty
years ago and although I knew very clearly where
I had bought it, I didn't tell them. That store doesn't
even exist today, and I'm sure the old man
who sold it to me is no longer alive anymore
... I thought about all this and never said it

The old man must've been in his seventies, back then
Tall and slender, bent by time and hunched
he made an impression on me and helped
me realize seventy year old men
are as lecherous as young ones.

It was a small furrier shop on 27th Street
near Broadway in the New York furrier's district
The store looked deceptively small from the outside
with a plate glass window through which
I stared at the display of beautiful, furry things
inside that I wanted, such as big, red bushy
fox fur ear muffs so I rang the bell
resting near the lock on the iron gate

He buzzed me in and came out
of a metal cage to greet me
Over his left shoulder the view opened
to show a space - big, wide open, and deep
Everything fur you could imagine
coats, jackets, stoles, of all sizes
shapes and colors, and he told me how

now-a-days he sold some new furs
not so many as years gone by, now he
traded old for new, sold used and antique
He did a booming storage business

He asked how he could help me and when I
said I came in for the bushy red ear muffs,
he offered them for cheap or free if I
would only let him touch me, so I bought
a small ratty old sable stole for 15 dollars and paid
10 dollars more for the ear muffs and at that moment

I spied that golden auburn feathered cap
and put it on and it was mine
It fit so well, styled for another age
but looked as though it were made for me
which even the old man could see
He said you can have that for 10 dollars more
So I took that hat with me and have
worn it specially several times a year

That hat is the bargain of my lifetime
I'll use it, re-use it till one of us goes off -
I thought about that shop often but never
went inside again although I wanted to
and even passed by occasionally
but still I never did go in again
Now he's dead so long ago
I've lost my chance to ever get those
marvelous irreplaceable
bargains I'm sure I'll never see again

Now I'm sorry I didn't go back, take a
chance to see that crazy old coot again,
to bargain with him, put him in his place
... I know I didn't answer your question
- So in case you're still wondering -
... I never - ever - let him touch me


  1. Joy, what an account! And you look absolutely fetching in that feathered hat....!! The old man's story does tell us so much about that NYC of the past and it's quaint bargain spots in this lovely snapshot you have created.

  2. Yes, you are a dream in that hat.

    And one hell of a poet.

  3. Love how the hat looks on you and how you look on the hat :) Very interesting story always make me feel like I am right there in the place you write about.