Work Song #10 (Spirit Ties)



Neighborhood: Tribeca


Because I sat around

Reading Joyce and

Wallace Stevens and

Shakespeare and spent

Time checking out

Museum shows and

Galleries and walking

Up and down the streets

Of the city I had

A superior attitude

And even thought

I was hot shit

Compared to pawns

And poor assholes

Who had to wear

Suits and lug

Briefcases around

And sit in cubicles

But of course I was

Just the super vacuuming

The hallway rugs

Mopping the lobby and

At the tenant’s beck

And call and also

Felt put upon

And embarrassed by

My lowly position on

The ladder of success

Being right near the

Financial district and

The World Trade Center

And all that

I was convinced I was an

Artist of some kind

And there’s nothing

Better or higher

On a different ladder

Than that I thought

A woman who was a

Curator at the Whitney

Lived on the top floor

Of the building with a

Commodities broker

One day when I was

Tying off a tube

Of trash I was inspired

By those long industrial

Metal compactor trash

Bag ties and saw

That they looked like

Long spirits drifting

With the large loop end

As the head and the small

Loop end feet flowing

Out behind and I got

To work creating

A spirit world of

Garbage ties drifting

Tacked to a board

Down in the compactor

Room of the sub-basement

My studio where

I worked away oblivious

To the smell except

When now and then

A bag of kitchen trash

Or cat litter came

Crashing down I’d

Look up for a second

Then get back to

Work on my installation

Of lost garbage tie

Ghosts I almost

Believed would

One day

Be displayed

In the Whitney Museum

of American Art


Dan Hubbs worked as the superintendent of 258 Broadway from 1980 to 1984.  He is a father, a librarian, a songwriter and a banjo player in a string band. He is currently finishing up a novel based on the early life of bare knuckle boxing champ John Morrissey.

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