dear new york, i love you.

9 April 2011 § Leave a comment

New York was sleepless and full of light. The daylight of Times Square invaded us through the hotel room window at midnight as would a movie camera, the director insisting it would make us famous.

The desperate flare of perseverance that inspired me to walk holes into my shoes came in the form of small ideas and ironies. I slept off the grip jet lag had on my eyelids and didn’t even dream about the poetry I missed.

I’ll miscue nothing else, I promised the pavement, when I should have been talking to myself. Looking up was the giveaway, like idealism at home: the locals said that if you don’t belong, don’t be long.

I always had a problem with that, but I etched it into my front door anyway, with hope that you would read it before you knocked. And I wonder how many bread crumbs you picked up that tasted like a warning.

I walked the financial district empty. There wasn’t a soul in those concrete canyons except for the guy I bought a hat from in his shop – a few hours and a hundred blocks away. On an island with that many people, serendipitous occasions like that must happen all the time.

As I strolled through Battery Park, the namesake of that ridiculous area in downtown Asheville that I should have known had something to do with New York, I saw the statue of liberty like a green popsicle on the horizon, holding a candle, and a rat the size of my foot scurried by me. Poetry plastered across banners advertising new condos let me know just how lucky I was to be in New York, of all places. According to them, Simone de Beauvoir couldn’t live without the audial anarchy, couldn’t appreciate the rest of the world if these shops weren’t around to comfort her. Whitman used to swim in the East River, and I’m curious to know how many people will say they do that now. We don’t even have to start with Fitzgerald.

If Alaska had a book like The Great Gatsby, this place would be ruined forever. But New York can handle it. The concrete monoliths at ground zero testify to the absence how immense it is, feeding its ego.

How many times did I feel the magnetic pull of Greenwich Village, ending up there at four a.m. to play chess, nurse a beer, or finally have the chance to sit up on a stoop and write a poem in the rain? Subways rumbled from within, their mechanics oblivious to destiny, and I never saw the streetlights from a dilapidated window so clearly.

Pedal your way to freedom without leaving your miniature prison. They build up and up and up there, the white devil and his counterparts, let me listen to you preach right now. Read that book to me in lullabies, and tell me what I’m guilty of. Look me in the eye with that misplaced hate, because I want it to fly first class into the atmosphere with a dose of my forgiveness. And that shit is expensive, so please don’t waste it.

Run up behind me again, motherfucker, and I’ll race you to the moon. And trust that I don’t fear you – I’ve just learned my lesson a time or two too many not to know what you’ve got in store for me around the corner. I’ll find the roof eventually, and shower you with wet confetti cut from hundred dollar bills and marriage vows composed in factories by the thousand.

Post-mortem sunshine overdue this morning. Caffeine around the bend: we still expect you to color inside the lines, no matter how cold you are from the concrete and the stage, let the whiskey warm you and learn to turn the page before it yellows, brittle, insecure. 1938 one time again, happy birthday, here’s your plight.

If I touched the sidewalks, the tarmac of pedestrians, I’d be surprised if she saw me more than once as a burden worth mentioning.


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