I ascend from the steps at a quarter-to-four,
A black book of music secure in my hands,
To a screeching display of a different score:
A jumble of streetcars and roasted-food stands.
I purchase my dinner and stroll up the street
Towards the place where my fears and my promises meet.
Here humans never sleep, but dream
Of lives fantastic, manic; Wild
as headlights blaring in high beam
and laughing, brazen, like a child:
Drinking the blood of the polluted night,
Creatures of blackness that fades into light.
and sometimes at twilight they tremble with pain,
the manholes steam white from their jet-black abyss;
Cataracts in this eye of the Hurricane,
blockage diffusing the relative bliss.
A city of Dangers, my father once said,
Ready to pour heartache into your head.
I am but a dust speck, duffel slung low,
My shoes soft and shapely against my back,
in this compound of molecules; row after row
of iron and steel surging track after track —
And clamoring voices, a bleak monologue
of dauntless skyscrapers that melt into fog.
Each moment I pass here is slowly unbound;
A kaleidoscope couldn’t blend it more well,
for my body sings color and blushes with sound,
and a stirring inside that no counsel could quell.
Then the lanes flush with people, briefcases a-flurry,
And they sweep me up into their passionate hurry.
I walk the glittering streets at noon,
Silver and wet from a midnight rain;
The bus will be sailing me homeward soon,
But somehow I know that I’ll be back again:
To this city of strangers, this city of change,
to this part of my heart I cannot disarrange.