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Night | School | Wanting | Losing | Finding | Flying | Chance | On Foot | Turns | Confidence | New York | Favorite sequence


Centuries

This city is far older than I,
far larger than I --
post offices as big as warehouses;
apartments in rows of storied brick,
full of tangled lives and stories;
people young, old,
brown, yellow, black, and white,
speaking a hundred languages,
all shoulder to shoulder on the subway;
trains coursing the same routes since before I was born,
trains pulsing five million souls in and out daily,
cells driven by a great, beating heart

Neighborhoods have names,
streets have histories,
this city bustled in its millions
even before the automobile or the airplane --
generations of buildings have fallen and re-risen
in a layered palimpsest of ambition

And now here I am, feet on sidewalk,
the Chrysler Tower scalloped and elegant behind my left shoulder,
the Brooklyn Bridge ahead, waiting massive, ancient and benevolent

The biggest ego cannot compete;
one can only hope to participate

Someone's great-great-grandfather came here, seeking a better life;
someone's great-grandfather moved up and out;
his great-grandson comes back, taking his own chances
-- Spring 2010


Wagons East

My great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather, and grandfather
worked their way steadily west --
the Battery (before Ellis Island), New Jersey,
Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado;
and my father moved us from Denver to Phoenix
before I was a man

Had I taken a job in, say, the Bay,
we've have done it --
coast to coast in a mere five generations,
a quick one hundred thirty years

But no

Here we go, family, dog, U-Haul trailer and I,
ka-ding!-ing like a carriage return on an old-fashioned typewriter
all the way back to that same island,
starting another line in that same story
-- Spring 2010


Morning Jog


Silhouetted stark against grey sky,
rich dark brown in the wet fog,
bony hands of sapling branches
grasping empty --

each gnarled knuckle glittering
with a pendulous raindrop,
jewels dangling clear on every thin joint --

waiting for spring,
yet patiently,
and not without reward

-- January 2012


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