I miss the skyline, Brooklyn, the factories
the urban and industrial disaster
the no-man’s-land where the hoods persist
the intensity and the grime
the faces and the relentless expressions
the smokestacks and the bridges,
the islands and the boroughs.
Chinatown, the vegetables, the signs,
the pushing mobs and the putrescent odors;
I miss the beautiful, the hip and the cool,
the feeling that everything and its opposite can exist
as long as you believe it or enact it.
“only in New York….”
I miss the nights, the lights, the taxicabs
on Houston or Canal Streets;
the Villages, the East and the West,
Greenwich, SoHo, and Nolita,
Alphabet City, Tribeca, Williamsburg and beyond;
I miss riding the train to Coney Island,
Bensonhurst and Bed-Sty.
I miss going to Harlem on a Sunday
seeing the church-goers decked out in dazzling,
rightfully outrageous hats and shoes;
trying to imagine the Renaissance of the Jazz age
through the broken windows
instead the upcoming white ‘gentrification’.
the Angelika and the Film Forum
where movies came and went
that could be caught nowhere else
the bars, the nightlife, the music, theater and dance
the variety, the freshness and at times even the harshness.
the people, the people, the people
the acts in the subways, the fast-moving throngs, the parades
namely the Mermaid Parade.
the parks, rivers and train-tracks
the subway, the one truly democratic place left,
carrying each and every one to her destination;
where we tend to forget who we are
and in a moment of displacement
we let go to pure feeling of expression
caught in thought.
city in action, city of energy, city of differences,
the people’s city.
no matter who you are,
you can be that person there—
absorbed by the miasmic mass—
the force of movement,
the toiling of the waves,
the swirling of the spirals.
accepted—part or piece of a puzzle—
with so many chips that each one is indistinguishable,
a pixel in the whole,
like those collages made of people’s faces
where, if you stand at the right distance,
you see a larger image.
do I digress? In a moment of passion.
have I failed to express myself?
city of lights, city of wonder,
where you dare to gaze
and never cease to amaze.
where angels don’t fear to tread
where night is day, and for so many day is night
where skyscrapers are lit by neon-light.