"New York" by Edward Field, from After the Fall: Poems Old and New. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission.( buy now)
New York I live in a beautiful place, a city people claim to be astonished when you say you live there.
They talk of junkies, muggings, dirt, and noise,missing the point completely.
I tell them where they live it is hell, a land of frozen people.They never think of people.
Home, I am astonished by this environment that is also a form of naturelike those paradises of trees and grass, but this is a people paradise,where we are the creatures mostly, though thank God for dogs, cats, sparrows, and roaches.
This vertical place is no more an accident than the Himalayas are.
The city needs all those tall buildings to contain the tremendous energy here.
The landscape is in a state of balance.We do God's will whether we know it or not: where I live the streets end in a river of sunlight.
Nowhere else in the country do people show just what they feel—we don't put on any act.
Look at the way New Yorkers walk down the street.
It says, I don't care.
What nerve,to dare to live their dreams, or nightmares,and no one bothers to look.
True, you have to be an expert to live here.
Part of the trick is not to go anywhere, lounge about, go slowly in the midst of the rush for novelty.
Anyway, besides the eats the big event here is the streets, which are full of love— we hug and kiss a lot.
You can't say that for anywhere else around.
For some it's a carnival of sex—there's all the opportunity in the world.
For me it is no different:out walking, my soul seeks its food.
It knows what it wants.
Instantly it recognizes its mate, our eyes meet,and our beings exchange a vital energy,the universe goes on.
Charge,and we pass by without holding.