Skip to main content

Magic Hour

People pass in a leisurely blur
On horseback, an odd juxtaposition
Of both place and time- a city
Where everything is possible
And in being so, becomes necessary.
A dozen dogs in four hands, soft coats
Softer still in the meager sun
Of early spring. Joggers test their wrists
And happy immigrants talk spiritedly,
Trading sips of coffee and bites of bagel.

Walkers pass under bridges,
Through tunnels, by ponds,
Carrying umbrellas in places
Where they would not walk after dark
Without mad weapons instead;
And along the water, trees shimmer
In brightest green, yellow, red,
Ginger orange of reawakening,

While beyond, skyscrapers glow gold
In the shroud of fog that invalidates
The time of day, enclosing the city
In a single moment of the magic hour.

A group of tourists, young women, naive
Or emboldened by their number, stop me

And hand me their camera, me
In my three-day scruff and my leather,
And my eyes that I know misrepresent
My quiet solemnity. I take their picture
With a green hill of Central Park
Rolling up behind them,
And as I hand them the camera
And smirk a goodbye,
I know they will remember me
As a kind New Yorker,
Instead of a tourist like them,

En route to the Met;

My first time down cobblestone walks
Of tarpaulin tents and lost dignity-
No meaning to suppertime or sunrise
For the lost who could never get it right,
Never find a hold, and now sleep in public,
No room left for shame under ceilings
Half concrete and half celestial,
Where in the spring thaw,
The stone walls weep with the grief
Of compromised humanity.


Clockworkchris said…
I wish I could write like you-paint a scene of the world, but we are on such different paths and our experience clearly defines our writing. This is wonderful. Every line is truly poetry. Thanks for letting me enjoy it and by the way, this site looks perfect with white on black-maybe my browser was just off the other time.
I enjoyed reading this. Funn that you were mistaken for a New Yorker when you were a tourist yourself.
twitches said…
I like the way this poem turns on the realization that the speaker is also a tourist. If I'm reading it right, that is.
gel said…
Your golden words are fluid and painterly. Your observations are keen and at times, painful to read this truth. It is "good pain" if you know what I mean. (It's the kind of sharp twinges one learns from and hopefully wants to do something about.)
January said…
As a former New Yorker, I can relate. This is a good poem with a very strong ending. Didn't expect it to go where it did, but I'm glad I went along for the ride.

Looking forward to exploring your blog.
Brian said…
Great poem, I enjoyed remembering the times in The City when I saw sights like these.

I saw your comment on Poefrika about the poem that discussed death and I really understood. I feel very similar to you in the singular conciousness comment.
Rethabile said…
Nice flow.
Solid places.

Have a happy and productive 2007...

Popular posts from this blog

When I See It

I don’t believe in time.
There's much more world left;
So much more to learn,
And I don’t believe in time.
I believe in shadow birds flying
Through the green of mown grass
Under the squint-bright sun;
An ocean dappled with clouds
And the white sails of small boats
Crossing my shoulder;
A thousand dynamic blooms
That I can’t name, speaking
With voices of children
And laughing as they pass;
The reassuring chatter
Of great wooden beasts
That sermonize patience
And continuity.
But I don’t believe in time
Or the limits it implies.
I don’t believe in the failure
Of the manifest soul.
I don’t believe death will result
From the cessation of habits
That feed my blood,
Because I won't believe
In a future nothingness
That I can’t see from here.

Dawn in an Hour

Dawn is in an hour;
in a night.
A light on the long street
on the grey river,
on a long walk of broken clays.
It takes only a streetlight
to bare the sighs,
the yawn of dark alleys,
of quiet honesty;
the great peace
of telling without cause,
without want.
The arm stretches
and guides the body;
the body doubles its warmth.
Laughter snaps
against brick and glass,
and the eyes combine;
heart combines with heart.
And dawn is in the hour,
in the night.


I think, sometimes,
that I can do anything,
but that can change on the way
to the elevator.

I prepare for outside.
Rain makes it easier,
bends my eye to the ground,
to the architecture;
turns everything to gold.
The new gravity holds me,
turns the voices into hums,
the walkers into clouds.

But outside my door,
there are voices already,
breaking through planks of wood
that should mean security,
and I’m in their path;
every word an arrow
tipped with poison.

They’re only voices.
They are not harsh;
they do not threaten.
They’re not aimed at me
at all. Yet I suspect,
hidden from me,
there are faces attached.