March 15: “New York City” by Day Williams

NEW YORK CITY

 

A prisoner who had forgotten chains,

He wakened in another place, New York,

Discovered that his chains were tight, and fought

To free himself from demons’ teeth and nails.

The traffic roar and clatter ground like salt

On metal shells, corroded Spirit’s core,

And canceled credit former loves had earned.

The push to hone his craft had lured the man

To bare himself before the strangers’ streets.

Skyscrapers’ lights illuminated dusk

On Broadway, Times Square, and Fifth Avenue;

High heels of debutantes and office girls

Clicked like a Bushman’s speech; bag ladies picked

Through rubbish in a canister for cans

To peddle; taxis honked in traffic jams;

Electric billboards blinked and boasted wares;

The junkies jostled corporate lawyers’ wives

And friends who shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue

For blouses, skirts and dresses; models posed

By sculptures; traffic lights winked green and red;

The watchman for the three-card monte game

Whistled a warning to confederates;

Graffiti subway cars slid open doors,

Swallowed suits, gangs, and clerks, the poet’s peers.

~Day Williams

 

“South Bronx Subway” by Danny Lyon