New York is not New

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New York is not New

the subways are steel worms eating at the guts of the city

And I have seen it, ghosts rising
in a cold October sky
Brought to my knees by the towering
gravestones hundreds of stories in the air
The hundred stories of ordinary people
living ordinary lives with extraordinary conclusions

Let me tell one to you:

A 32 year old actress living with 4 roommates
in 1 Harlem flat
waiting for her 1 break
1 face built for Checkov
1 body a die cast leaving no impressions
She’s 1 in a city of thousands
meeting 1 brokenhearted traveller
negotiating thousands of streets made familiar
A French speaking native New yorker
for ten years makes it so
And I have seen it, a sky lit by sky lights
Sushi supped in Midnight cafes
faces lit by candlelight
Young men reading angry poetry
at the Nuyurican and St. Marks
And I have seen her, a desperate woman with a hand outstretched
Catchingos for the latest fix

 

And I have seen it, a gravesite
tourist trap selling tchotckes
for the passerby
Ground Zero, where the tourists go
Buy yer tchockes here!”
A photo of the dead for you
A big fat hole in the ground,
16 acres to bury the dead on hallowed ground
and still it isn’t enough
And I have heard it: a sweet harmonica and guitar band
overamplified, bleeding into the city streets
And I have felt it: a fear as I walked across a shrouded Thompkins Square
A wife divorcing me a continent away
And who will I tell this to, my tale of a city on fire?
to the wind, and to the wind it is given
Time to go home, take a step onto a plane and
disappear into thin air.