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Inheritance

My brother walked these streets
This was his city
These were his secrets
When he roamed here with his friends
And they knew
That they were just nineteen
And the night was young
And the world was theirs
The city was theirs
And they were the city’s
They knew you, my city
And now
So do I
I know you, my city
I know your deep alleys and your blinding lights
Your one-block streets that never lead quite where I’m going
Your subways that burrow under your bedrock
Rumbling the concrete under my feet
I know you, my city
You are the muse, the living, thumping heart inside the paintings and poems
That lifts some up to unimagined heights and penthouses
And drives others to madness, curled on forgotten street corners
I know you, my city
Your flowers painted on taxicabs
Your mugger with the desperate knife
Your strangers meeting each other’s eyes in a crowded subway car
I know you, my city
The way you never truly sleep
Just nap, right before the dawn
I know you, my city
I was raised to know you
You’re in my blood
Just as you were in my brother’s




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