Years and years,
Of escape and consideration,
Piecing together an improbable paradise.
A decision at every corner,
Sometimes into the desert,
Into the jungle,
Onto a mesa,
Into no man’s land.
It is important,
Not just where you are going,
But, the direction from which you have come.
I am seeking answers. I am seeking contentment,
The lullabies of the breeze,
The heartbeat of the trees,
The wings of a dragonfly reflecting a rainbow,
In a puddle of mud.
I find nothing but evening falling,
Orange skies on the horizon,
An early owl,
Eager to hunt,
Before the moonrise shadows,
Stars obscured by clouds,
Hidden under the smoke,
And, not reflected in mirrors.
I find nothing but fireflies, confused by tricks of lightning,
Drifting in dreams of luminescent mushrooms,
Dancing under the cracked street light,
Down Broadway and Forty Second Street.
I am lighting up billboards and Plato’s Retreat,
Sitting with honkey tonk percussionists and rebels,
At glossy orange painted tables,
Getting drunk with cocaine and plans,
Jazz under my fingernails,
Howling from Grand Central to Soho,
A pigeon on my shoulder,
Grime and cement under foot,
Cold glass and steel in the sky,
A panhandler on each arm,
The bewildering echoes of the beat of Wall Street,
The eye of Cleopatra’s Needle,
Turned in on itself,
Watching the past,
So safe because we already know what is going to happen,
Nothing like espresso and poetry,
Snapping fingers instead of applause,
Everyone exaggerating themselves,
A “Shakespeare in the Park” actor,
Too good for summer stock,
Able to travel in any direction,
Open any door,
Be whoever you want.
Slumming on the Lower East Side,
Central Park South, Needle Park,
Another country around every corner,
From Columbus Circle to Sheridan Square,
Without a single smile,
Finally falling asleep to the rumble of the BMT,
Under the Brooklyn Bridge,
Chinatown over my shoulder,
Choking on air expelled by six million mouths,
Smothered by the dreams of everyone else,
In a hurry,
Rush hour pushing, shoving,
All scrambling to rise,
Or fifteen minutes of fame.
Me, too. Drowning.
“Top of the world, Ma.”
And, snap of the fingers,
Up in smoke.
Street lights out.
Not reflected by mirrors.
The Milky Way retired for the night,
Into the scream of a siren.
Into the silence of a dawn,
Of red wasps in the sun.
Grateful for my life,
And, for an improbable paradise.
September 11, 2018