Monday, August 10, 2009

People Sounds Like Peephole

This is a poem I wrote while sitting on a park bench at W. Broadway and Beach St. in lower Manhattan. This is not your typical New York poem.

At the intersection of five streets
at an oval-shaped park with
two trees jutting from where the
eyes would be
At the meeting place of buses,
taxis, couples, vagrants, children,
cell phone addicts, those with
their heads down, those with
a poodle in hand
I've practically collapsed on a bench,
My backpack and duffel bag dragged
along beside me, my left heel
pulsating and throbbing with red,
cartoonish pain, and I sit here
and try to take the pressure off.

I have hours to kill, nowhere
to go, no feelings to feel or
companions to tease or criticize, and
I wonder if my entire life has
been building up to this, nearly
three decades of walking, listening,
looking, thinking, experiencing,
to a point where I move my
left foot and try not to feel,
pick my head up and
try not to look,
pull my bags closer toward me
and try not to possess.

There is definitely something here
but I lost it, somewhere between
the bars, the work, the hotel, the
text messages, from that point
to this one.

And here I am now, and there are
beautiful women and babies in strollers
and pigeons and trash and fire escapes.

There are delis and pharmacies
and Irish-themed pubs and
people from Seattle and
Puerto Rico and India and
Chile and New Zealand.

There are street signs and buildings,
water and mail boxes and construction.

And there's also me in there somwhere
With my backpack and my duffel bag,
my swollen heel and my jeans and
shoes and my shirt with the fish on it,
and my red hair and my small hands,
my pen and my notebook and the bench
that I sit on.

Tonight, I'm the only thing that will
be gone. And the wind breathes calmly
and people keep walking and the
sun peaks out through the clouds.

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