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« "After the Opening, 1932" [by Anna Ziegler] | Main | Transnational Mourning [Catharine R. Stimpson] »

December 02, 2008

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Can't help asking -- was there really a 13th floor?

Yes. Isn't that strange? I hadn't noticed until she asked me to press it.

i work on a 13th floor. i think lots of bldgs in nyc don't observe this superstition. most hotels seem to though.

Maybe they weren't really there at all -- maybe you just caught the paranormal energy of a long-ago conversation and if you go on the elevator tomorrow, there will be no 13th floor button to push...

Or maybe not.

I once began a poem: "City of elevators without a thirteenth floor." Many Upper West Side buildings lack a thirteenth floor, which means that if you live on the 14th, as I did for several years, it's really the 13th in disguise, and strange things did happen when I lived there. But maybe that had as much to do with the place and the time as the floor. In any case, triskedekaphobia will always be a word I cherish.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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