In the city









I have walked these streets

these cavernous coffins, sparkling but barren,

her belly bearing the swift and moaning metal tide.


She belches out her disapproval

and hungrily takes her place, an upward striving,

a downward gravity, host to vagabonds.


This headmistress of a language tasting

like rubber, and smoke and old pizza boxes

tossed together in a back alley salad of sad.


Here the fingers don’t touch across

the chapel ceiling, draped in mystery.

Here the collective taunt the painters with maintenance.


The broken, steely sky is punctured through

with a thousand fluorescent lights;

and night is confused with day.


Downtown hustlers shepherd their shivering flock

of skin and leather, studs and paint

so their shoes can match the shiny lights.


Down the sides, around the backs

over the heaps, through broken gates

go the wayward shadows…in the city.







4 thoughts on “In the city

  1. John Decker

    A very, very good expression of why January 10th, 1990 is sacred to my memory: I walked out of my office in the Big Apple for the last time, and took my last commuting ride home, and within 48 hours we were off across the Delaware River, moving to rural America. It was the saving of me!

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