Ode to my City

I wrote this poem in 2009.  It remains the only poem I’ve ever written of any value.

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My love is immense.

She offers up delicious solitude

in the midst of a crowd,

and fleeting connections,

a shrug and smile

across a platform late at night.

She has witnessed my Pilgrim’s Progress

out of the chaos underground.

She rewarded my arrival

to the land of the living with

the promise of solid stone towers –

linked with a delicate web of her beauty.

Tonight my love mourns.

She cries to heaven with

twin pillars of light…

phantoms themselves.

The clouds embrace and absorb her pain

just as she embraced and absorbed mine.

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In those days she left a trail,

a scavenger hunt to her and to me…

harbor pilots hopping from boat to ship,

grilled cheese from a man named Melquíades,

eye contact and grins despite what They say,

mystery stalactites at the Lawrence Street station,

cheap prizes at the boardwalk carnival,

Empire State lights to help me find my way,

Solis offering up my morning coffee,

Andean flutes surrounded by concrete mountains,

the rising pitch of the accelerating M,

a stranger going out of his way to get me home safely,

the taxi driver asking after my father’s health,

the bodega of, “qué-tal-kif-halek-comment-sa-va,”

and turning the key of the door to my own home,

which is hers, too.

The tourists are nestled in their hotel rooms,

satiated with Bloomie’s and a show,

hoodwinked by the façade of her bright lights…

but I see beyond her glamour.

I thank her for proving those wrong

who said she is cold and heartless.

I tuck her in after last call at the Pour House

and tell her how much I love her.

Then I settle down next to her to share

the warmth of the city that maybe

every so often

sleeps.

Shlomies

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