In her debut, Dubris tells us “how it is” in unheroic, often comic detail. Her stories and poems—full of strobe-lit images of the homeless, the lost, and the luckless in emergency rooms, hotel rooms, and subway tunnels—are the verbal equivalents of Weegee’s photographs. It was Weegee who wrote: “When you find yourself [feeling] a bond between yourself and the people you document, when you laugh and cry with their laughter and their tears, you will know you are on the right track.” Maggie Dubris, in this debut collection, is most definitely on the right track. Weep Not, My Wanton collects eight short stories and a fifty-page poem, “WilleWorld,” all based on Dubris’ experience as an EMS worker in New York City. Here, too, is a ambitious series of linked poems, “Toilers of the Sea,” concerning other themes: extinction, time, comic books, and the passage of the old world into the new.
“I used to think that working on an ambulance would be like being in a war,” writes Maggie Dubris, a longtime paramedic in and around Times Square. “I thought that I would go up against death, face to face, and that I would win, because I wanted to so much. But that’s not how it is.”
With every call to save a life, Maggie Dubris—who worked as a 911 paramedic in Hell’s Kitchen throughout the ’80s and ’90s—enters a different and strange world. . . a vivid rendering of the lives of New York’s poorest and most invisible.
—New York Post