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Mina Loy, in fact, has very little— I won’t say none— connection to Kings County. Nonetheless, I have included Mina Loy in the Brooklyn Dirty Book Festival this year because of her nearness to the still spry ticker of soon-to-be-86-year-old Caz Dolowicz. There used to be a cigar shop on Washington Street right by the subway terminal on Sands— it’s hard to envision this today because of the Cadman Plaza bullshit and the extension of the Brooklyn Bridge ramps— that’s Washington Street too, not Washington Avenue. (I could show ya’ll later but Kevin Walsh has the honor today). Anyway, this cigar shop, Caz tells me, sold books and magazines, even rubbers under-the-counter but you had to ask for those. Some people did but not our Caz, who— despite his Sands Street heritage— was in 1935 still largely unlearned in the art of love. Caz was, however, an avid reader, and while going in for his copy of Black Mask one week, he saw a pile of used books on the floor. “Hey, Billy, are these for sale?” he asked the counterman, “I don’t see any prices on ‘em.” “Nah, that’s just some crap one of the boarders left when she moved out last week; pay for Black Mask and you can take a book.” Caz rooted around the box, handed Billy his fifteen cents and walked out with Black Mask and a paperback called Lunar Baedeker by Mina Loy. Caz didn’t know much about poetry then but it was printed in Paris in his birth year of 1923. It looked interesting, especially the poem titled “Love Songs,” which began—

Spawn of fantasies
Sifting the appraisable
Pig Cupid his rosy snout
Rooting erotic garbage
“Once upon a time”

Whoa! Ya’ll can see why Young Caz was captivated: these are suspect places, indeed. To be continued…
— Kenny Wisdom


Photo, “Bury My Ass On Barbecue Lane, Dillard, Georgia (For Mina Loy)” by Amber Tides, courtesy of the artist

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