Genesis of a Poem: All That Would Ever After Not Be Said

In 1952, when the late Gabe Pressman (dean of New York City’s local TV press corps) was a young staff writer at the New York World-Telegram & The Sun, he came across a story tipped to him by a woman from Montreal who’d taken a cab ride in midtown Manhattan. This was the human-interest feature he wrote up.

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‘A man isn’t made of stone.’

This is the poem I wrote alluding to Pressman’s story. It was included in a collection of my “deformed sonnets,” All That Would Ever After Not Be Said (2021), and again in Shadow Words (2024).

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Pages 56-57 of All That Would Ever After Not Be Said. Collage by Norman O. Mustill

What Pressman didn’t know was that the cabbie didn’t want to be named because he was avoiding bill collectors at the time. I know because, as the poem says, that cabbie was my Dad.

So how could he afford to buy a Broadway ticket to “Guys and Dolls” for that grateful out-of-towner? He didn’t have to buy it. He knew all kinds of theater people, including publicists, producers, and box-office hands. He must have arranged a comp.

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