Sunday, June 25, 2017

I Heart New York

I Heart New York

There was a time when I, like Manhattan,
Thought I knew it all: that I knew nothing:
Or, at least, not enough. 
When I realized, like Manhattan, I could be
Bought for sixty Dutch guilders by
Foreign mercantilists. 

I, like Manhattan, have built green spaces
Amongst a hard series of concrete and 
Brick and marble and gold.
Infrastructure—tunnels and bridges and roads—
Pour people and effluence through 
My vain: arterial greed. 

I, like Manhattan, am reckless flurry,
A tempestuous never-stopping tax-and- 
Spending, series of facades.
I make my dreams in aggregate, taking
Solace among other invisibles—
Countless among shining stars.

I, like Manhattan, am a soul nation,
Federal in my insulated arrogance, 
Stately as a city on hill.
I am crashing towers, tall then felled, 
A neighbor to Liberty’s torch,
A mecca to Times, and times past.

I’m P-Diddy and Whitman and James.
 Speaking in verse and writing resistance. 
I’m TR and FDR and Eleanor,
 Bully and fearless and proud: pulpiteer.
I’m Rockefeller and Eastman
 Standardizing and image-taking.

And I’m the other boroughs
 And their people.
And I’m the Atlantic seaboard
 And its people.
And I’m the midwest and plains,
 And their people.
And Pacific And Indian.

I, like Manhattan, am all places:
Paris and Port Orange, Tokyo and Baghdad.
I, like Manhattan, am all stages:
Paleozoic and Revolutionary, 
Industrial and post-structured. 

I am New York:
I am America:
I am Earth:

There was a time when I, like Manhattan,
Thought I knew nothing, but knew it all,
Or, at least, just enough, 
When I realized that I, like Manhattan, could be
Sold for twenty trillion dollars to 
American oligarchs. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pulsing and Still

Pulsing and Still

History alive! Among us,
Even as we memorialize—
Statues carved in marble,
Statues carved in blood.
Made real in the absence of life,
Made hard in the absence of new context.

Memory alive! Among us,
Even as we are distanced—
Making hallowed spaces,
Making martyrs’ births.
Controlled by burning persistence,
Controlled by the endurance of meaning.

Memory alive! Among us,
Even as we co-struggle—
Movements against descents,
Movements from stillness.
Built on fathers’ mothers’ spilt seeds,
Built on volk’s fables and silk-woven webs.

Johnny Rebs to Lee’s leavings.
Rainbow promises to Stone walls.
Stars and bars to courthouse squares.
Slave quarters ring Liberty’s bells.
Hero chiefs from Trails of Tears.

Beating hearts to stilled Pulses.
Travesties to guilt collected.

Guns and bayonets and atom bombs,
In the name of greater goods,
Democracies to mobs,
Rules of law distended,
To lives that matter,
To life.

Memory alive! Recollected,
Even as we make history,
Staging for the personal,
Staging for re-telling.
Gathering space for stolen souls,
Gathering for the resolution of memory.

One year, then millenia.

Fifty-two weeks of mourning,
An endless morning, daybreak of terror:
Dawn of lives cut shorter,
Dawn of nightmares unleashed:
Ageless in each stolen beat,
Ageless in the living memory.

Memory alive! Among us,
Alongside quarters and ghettoes,
Spaces made with spirits here,
Spaces filled with histories’ nows.
Rebels, ever recalcitrant.
Rebels, terrorists resurgent.

Memory: a life! Come back!
Forget hatred’s agency:
No, never forget pride’s legacy,
No, never forget pride’s promises.
Resist history’s stale betrayals.
Resist the crumbs of opiated numbness. 

Memory again: beat again.
Memory again, beat without ceasing.
Memory again, spaces and ghosts:
     And broken hearts,
     And hearts alive,
     And among us, still.
          Pulsing and stilled,

              Pulsing still.