Two New York Poems

Two New York Poems


[Allegro, con humor] When I told my sister
All about my mister,
She yelled: “What a pissah!
Hey, get outta heah.”


[Andante] Well, now, New York …
I was leaving New York

Times Square

Flighty rustlings in the night
Gossip freely, unashamed.
Louder boomings, sonorous rumblings
Cry out proudly unrestrained.

Lightly flashing over drabness,
Neons dancing, never pausing.
Glaring brothers in the darkness
Echo deeply, colors tossing.

Paper phantoms in the roadway
Walk past briskly, almost racing.
Eyes and nose fuse into pinkness,
Souls go drifting, feet go pacing.

Brassy, sassy, painting, painted –
Panting starings, knowing frowns,
Beggars’ cups and autos’ whishings,
Sable coats, bejeweled crowns.

The New Yorker

Great and high.
As powerful as life.
Stalwart as mountain walls.
Taller than ancient oaks, so very tall
Yet tender in its heart,
Tender and compassionate
But mighty all the same

Reflections …
See and know brother man
Thru the mirror of his city.
Varied as man’s emotions; built to glorify his conquests,
Meek as his meekest, as forward as his boldest,
His city reflects hopes and desires
With hazy pictures –

Surging with powers.
Oh, the smell of eagerness is here,
Here in the city that is a monument to man,
Here, where the fiery frays of a thousand hearts find common peace,
Here where some find eternal war,
Where all is done to build,
Build to the very sky –

Fury of hell.
Fury on the face of it.
Fury ‘neath the false surface of it.
Fury, why torture those who seek their peace within my city?
Do you show the mercy that we crave?
Naught but terror do you breed,
You spread what we despise.

Yes, my city, you are a cauldron.
You are a cauldron of the world I love,
You blend the emotions I merge within myself,
You speak the truths I dare not speak,
You weave the fabric of my being,
You churn the butter of my heart,
You know all of me, all my soul,
Why can you not speak to me?
And tell me what I am?
Cauldron, please?

Welcome to New York

Roar to life
Antiphonal bastard born by hell at night in blood-red seas
Emblazoned coat of arms across a field of fire
All beauty wrapped in a sack with the bones sticking through –
If not with grace at least with gall.

Earn a buck today
on the river in the stink of the scum
and floating beer cans
all the way from Albany I’ll bet goddammit they’re so rusty; in an office
breathing phony air
drinking bitter coffee twice a day
with lungs puffing on a girder swaying
to the music beating
like a drum with dollar signs for sticks
And all the tourists wear print dresses with big black buttons.

Down by the Plaza secretaries rushing
Black smear sloppy harsh in the glare
The maid gets a five dollar fine for letting the poodle defecate on the sidewalk.

When you cross the street cover your eyes:
vomits past
Lustrous smoke for coughing
And two nuns on Madison Avenue stand waiting for the “walk” sign
Because they come from out-of-town and don’t know any better.


I see designs
On pavement squares
Wrought in constant gray.

I walk streets
(uneventful paths)
Through valleys of sinking gray.

I live my life
(whose else, I ask?)
In endless dusks of gray.

I long to be
(is that enough?)
Alone within my gray.

I hope to die
And then to live
In tombs of peaceful gray.

City Sill in Winter

There is no merit in this grey view,
The sky and stone all merge in smoke
As sentinels of stain
Inject the wind with blur.

The snow within the cracks and sills
Is flecked with black, unclear designs
And melts itself to dirty ice
And drips into the street below.


How to measure black decay
That sweeps through pavement on its way
To deaden, leaden, render gray
The reflux altar where we pray?

How to measure, judge or weigh
The bulk of flesh that we, the prey,
Must, on this surrender day,
Rip out, yield up and grant away?

What to do? What to say?
I ask you, friend, please find a way
To force the tender skin to stay,
To keep the hidden beast at bay.