New York

Credit: Jonathan Auch
Credit: Jonathan Auch

 

 

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Your avenues sweat subterranean blues,
tenor men dressed in Friday night’s best
tweed jazz ensemble hues blow worship
notes repeated in study
behind closed Bronx doors

New York, your stray cats crawl iron fire escapes
catching modal staircase saxophone stunts
trapeze from window sills towards dancing roofs,
dropping staff lines from their edges
pulling us up before orange sunrise,
before yellow cab Manhattan madness
the rush hour stomping hordes
rush hour bone crushing metro

Gather Central Park sparrows,
Little Italy gumption,
bronze skin Little India,
your Chelsea boys,
Harlem survivors,
crush them into powered pigment
into the pestle and mortar crown of Lady Liberty,
and paint your Hudson a new flag color for every
immigrant song tied around her ring finger

New York, split the levee of the East River
with the jaw breaking fist of broad chested
skyscraper building union men,
patch the gushing lip with azure blue
from above the shining empire state

Swath in Irish green the rusted shivering beams
of your Brooklyn bridge to the edge of Blue-Note
Manhattan, where saints once cried in brassy tenor
and fingers bled on white and black ivory keys

Your Broadway artery sweats subterranean blues
to the foot of Potter Fields and whispers the names
of voiceless cadavers who can only speak in dandelions
amongst unmarked graves

New York, my fingers are raw from climbing
your spine to study you from dawn rooftops

My eyes sting from your bright colors

My ears ring from your tenor jazz hues

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