Friday, February 13, 2009

Whither New York?

This is where I live:
“The epicenter of the crisis
and the nation’s largest city.”
I do not have the best job.
I do not live in Manhattan.
I don’t even work in Manhattan!

But I do live in Brooklyn, where I am afforded
the opportunity to leave for work
at seven a.m. and encounter
a sky that, upon exiting my apartment building,
which often smells of good cooking,
pork chops and Dominican food,
makes me gasp with its gaudy beauty.

The blues and pinks!
The clouds and sky that seem, like an animation cel,
to be lit joyously from behind
by a beneficent light.
Then the greens
and reds of changing stoplights, the rust
Don’t Walk and white Walk symbols
that, if you listen on a quiet corner, change
with a clunk-clunk.

I have all the coffee
and cigarettes I need. I fit my fingers
under my living-room window,
to facilitate a cross-breeze.
I write quickly—if not well—
with a cheap pen that pleases me.

Songs apply to me. “Back
in the New York Groove.” “A New York
State of Mind.” They can’t take that away from me.
They cannot kill or jail me.
They cannot make me leave.

Though I may choose to leave. When it comes,
if it comes,
it will be hard. I’ll hate to go.
I’ll say goodbye to people and,
almost more importantly, places:
Corner Bistro, Central Park in the fall on Marathon Day,
the whipping flags of Rockefeller Center where once
I laid on my back on the stone slabs
and mourned a girl I no longer mourn.

The city has become a part of me
and I have become a part of it.

It does not matter if the city doesn’t know it.

5 comments:

Jake Freedom said...

I really like this.

Hunter R. Slaton said...

Thanks, Jacob. And you, too, Emily.

Milton said...

Me too, Jacob. Good one, Hunter.

Anonymous said...

hey, man, even if you look to the left to the right and it feels so good tonight and it's out of sight* and you don't have a fistful of dollars, she knows when your back in her groove and she digs it.

(i dig it too.)

*man, ace could've really used your help on some of these lyrics, but f'n a if he didn't nail them chords

Jen said...

Aw, Corner Bistro. Good times. And what about eating fried pickes at Soho Park with me in the springtime?! Doesn't that deserve a shout-out!!??