New York

I switch off mid-sentence

And watch the lights looping Manhattan into LaGuardia,

For a mere moment motionless and surveying from starless sky

The swollen snakehead of a molting America.

New York City. Metro Multiversal. Apple and Eden.

A year plus half here dwelling in

The Village, Billyburg, Chelsea, Harlem and Queens

And you know,

It’s glistening and alive, this human gel,

A bright torch in a burnt-out bushland,

Mating loudmouth locals with Midwest make-goods,

Teething those thousands from teeming shores,

A trophy case of talent and ambition yet

Touching 911 in the dark, behind beers,

A nebula of neuroses picking people off

In the dark of heartness.

But we’re uptowning, downtowning, crosstowning,

Intuiting trains and

Reaching for that place

Where night percolates and peaks

And it’s all so great.

From the Alpha City hum of happy hour

To the bouncered doors

And bouncing walls of the LES,

Hams from all over are

Hamming it up

Honing it up

Boning it up

In this massive factorial of a city.

Swimming schools of people

Slosh over each other

Wash over each other and it’s

Savage and sweet the way

Worlds stagger into each other,

Prop each other up, tear each other down,

Become each other,

Become love, hate, beauty, garbage, art.

Create it, fake it and never wait for it,

That’s the game in NYC.

Young hammerheads in Yankees gear strike fear,

Mouth hip-hop in hard-man sutras

And juxtapose with

Furred sophisticunts in DG sunnies

Way beyond Botox but

The mixing is mad, the confluence is rad

And even the artificial can be artful

Like that styrofoam snowfall from somewhere in the sky

One winter sunny day in Brooklyn.

The seven spirits you from center where

In Woodside mass Mexicans,

Pueblistas lining Sixty-ninth Street

In a cold gray sleet;

Men without women

Men wiring women,

Waiting for gloveless night

Where anything they need can be found

Under the tracks on Roosevelt –

the taco trucks and beat-up bars blinking hot in the neon cheap.

This is the town that tells us

Life must simply have willed itself into being,

In the beginning,

And that you must as well.

But the way light becomes brick

Is a trick that says we were made to be here

And Saturday night muggings

And Shoot the Freak on Coney Island

Say it isn’t so and so

I scan faces for grace

Headlines for hope

Websites for light

TV for that tidbit that

Tells us we’ll be alright

That we’re a good people

That we ever were or may be

In this Earth-moving crucible of collective energy.

But in the East Village

In K town

On the Upper East Side,

In Tribeca, Greenpoint, Astoria or Staten Island,

We know that whether we’re losing ourselves, finding ourselves

Or grinding ourselves out,

That it all must be done

That it just has to be done

In this wicked mix-up of diaspora and dimension

In this living, lingering hyper-legend

Of New York City.

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