I Remember New York Like a Poem

I remember New York like a poem

Its streets split like a rainbow drunk
each one an open-ended verse,
a trip that could go either way

I remember its queer rhythms—
the crack of urethane against pavement
signalling the start of a new day;
the whir of feet and red flannel and bright green shirt
racing the city subway
making it home just 5 minutes after.

I remember the heat-baked concrete
rumbling under a cathedral of rusting tracks
its grassy scent baked into its pores
open like faces under the butts
of unwashed jeans and three-day-old hair.

I remember the city in the sad, grand gesture
of cheese and crackers and wine
—the taste of a midnight hallucination
in the confines of a dimly lit apartment
—a claustrophobic sort of freedom,
114 East Harlem.

drifting off later in bed with visions of Morrison and Said
and of the Greek chorus whose footprints are etched
like legend and myth into the concrete of the city East to West: Hughes, Kerouac, Obama, Hurston, Ginsberg—
I hurry after them on a morning’s pilgrimage,
feeling small, and filled with an incredible longing

I remember the loud and muddy New York nights
its sky donning a polluted smog like
an evening gown

And all the multi-coloured lights blinking at once
like the eyes of a great beast that is the city,
roiling and irreverent and constantly
in motion, with its subway
spine flexing and bending and aching
under the weight
of ten thousand unsettled dreams,
of which mine are but a speck,
adrift
and insignificant.

I remember New York like a poem.

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