New York

It is the steam of ideas, addiction,
and 9 million tenant farmers
confusing their nesses:

Forget, Forgive

Cut fingernails on microchips and monitors,
battle exhaustion in a city the
zeitgeist claims never sleeps.

It is where the black haired, black eyed women,
angular and dripping mystique,
haunt the cement caves below
ulcered Dominican children who
vomit hope behind drapes of Spanish moss.

All promises varnished with importance,
in a place where not even a 70 story drop
can disrupt frenetic normalcy.

The subtleties are choked by scale
and everyone is a magician
who can turn nothing into nothing.

Burlesque troubadours dance to
spaghetti western soundtracks
and sell books on the streets.

The alleys are chapels,
and paper bag priests lead syringe
sermons and shudder with praise.

Those blessed with closets in the windowed statues
scent them of home:
family photos and favorite blankets.
But still the lease is a sentence.

And mom,
I’m not cracking windshields,
but the problems don’t fade with place,
and I’ve taken this 80 minute plane ride
only to find I’m more empty under the light.