New York

Buildings rising

like towers of Babel,

standing in mute celebration,

to the dream,

the American Dream,

with its contradictions

living with abject beauty

and possibility,

all held in the skyline,

the ever present skyline,

dominated by the

Empire State,

and the Freedom Tower

as the symbols of defiance.

 

Racing, pacing

life, with workers

walking with urgency

and tourists walking

with awe at

the size and

the grandness

of the Dream,

this masculine dream

that is the heartbeat

of the city,

and as strong as

the bull on Wall Street.

 

Vendors plying their

wares among the

smells of foods

that mingle with ethnicity,

and the divergent sounds

of people from

across the planet

that ceaselessly

echo in gasps and stories

in the City that never sleeps.

 

Cities of the City winding

like dormant snakes

around the Hudson

and boats splashing endlessly

through the waters

that carried the

millions of frightened souls

who came

to this New World

through Ellis Island

and left their legacy

in this land of

dreams and opportunity.

 

Horns blowing

across the multi-coloured ocean

of cars that wriggle

their way around

trucks and buses

and the ever

curious tourists

that look up,

with cameras poised,

to the endless buildings,

the giants in the sky,

erect and secure

with their threatening poses.

 

Homeless ones,

sleeping rough on benches

do not look up

but always down,

for their dream

is not the American Dream,

and their silent faces

are painted into the

background of

an ever changing

canvas of cityscape,

dotted with flecks of

soothing green oasis,

and the gardened miracle

of Central Park,

that takes you

out of the city

only to throw you

back in again.

 

And in lower Manhattan

the absence and presence

of the Twins

reminds all of the

fragility of the Dream,

and the tourists

and those who still mourn

stand looking down

in silence

into the flowing water

of the dark grey memorials

that sit stark in memory

surrounded by names

now forgotten and remembered

from that day and

those images of fiery destruction.

 

Then uptown

the energy and enthusiasm

of Times Square

and Little Italy,

with its sprawl

and wave of people

all caught up and lively

in this world,

this surreal place,

of food, shops and tradition

that exists out of time

and location, more

as an ideal and wish for the Old World

than any tangible cultural place.

 

The crowds flow,

ever flow,

in search

of the ideal,

wanting to take

in the imposing grandeur

of the greatest

American city,

but a city also

of ambiguity and tension

about the American dream:

patriotic but open,

always pluralistic

but never easy to define,

as its cultures and languages

gush like the river

through the city.

 

And the crowds

move to the steamy

presence of the subway,

with its clattering trains

and grungy mysterious

corners with people

clambering in and

racing to catch

the last train and

the first,

looking at each other

but never looking.

 

This is New York,

the city of dreams and

the place of despair,

of lofty heights,

of shops aglow

with neon,

of beeping horns,

and drifting masses

of people that flow

around the streets,

in and out of shops,

through the shadows

and the patches of

light in love,

hate and admiration.

 

This is New York,

the living and breathing

anima and animus

of the American soul,

watched over by

the grand Statue,

whose torch and

green copper radiance

reminds the masses

that the ideal of liberty

is still present,

still a gentle call

in the streaming life

of the present,

still an echo

from a past

that shapes today.

 

15/7/2016