Friday, September 12, 2014

Wayfarer: A poem

I am on my way
The path is familiar
But foreign
I am alone,
But one with the city
I am a stranger
But I am at home

The towers they feed me
The skyline fills my lungs
With sweet breath
Sweet release

High above me: sparkling silver monoliths
Below me: concrete, rocks, a lost Metro card
Grates, sirens
the chuff of a city bus
The rumble of trains
beneath my feet
It is music
No words need come
The song is around me
In me
Carries me

I am on a journey
to me
Away from me
To a better me
The me I once thought I’d be
The me I forgot I was

The cabbies insult
Swindle me
The air is noisy
When you inhale

I am conspicuous
As I make my way down Park Avenue
Sleek storefronts
Windows iridescent
All the way to the Niederlander alone
Without a map
Without looking up
I live nearby
and am simply out for a stroll
Off to see a friend in a show

I pretend
but I am
fooling no one
I am a tourist
Ah, there it is
That dirty little word

You see,
No matter how many times
I hail a taxi from LaGuardia
In my smart black slacks and heels
And my soft grey turtleneck
And the plaid scarf I bought in the Village
with the tiny Louis Vuitton bag
slung over my shoulder like a prize
like a ticket for entry

No matter how many times
I step out of the cab onto 58th
Looking for the chocolate shop that I love
That isn’t there any more
I am reminded
I am not here to blend in

I know this

I am here
to be me
Be somebody else
Be who I want to be
Wear the city like a coat

I am here to breathe it all in
The startling crisp air
The teetering heights
The urban cacophony
The hum, the crush, the whir
The glorious madness

I am here to take it
Take it all
as much as I can
and hold it tight

Before I go home
Breathless and beatific
In a cab ride back to LaGuardia
Storing it all up
For another year’s worth
of dreams

photo by joan
this poem was born at the writing circle

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