The Breathing City

The train ramps over rail bumps, a beating heart beneath our feet.
This old thing has life, given by those engineers who worked
In the tunnels with headlamps and wrenches,
Lining the ground with tracks, like veins and capillaries,
With ventricle metro stations that feed the passengers through
To the stairs, the entrance pushing air in and out as lungs would.
The turnstiles pulse as they thread the men and women,
All tiny blood cells in this city that breathes,
All amassing to this functional being someone called
New York City.

Sylvia Plath’s description of New York in her novel The Bell Jar inspired this piece. While she depicted the city as stuffy and rather foul, she brought it to life, presented it as a concrete giant that had swallowed her whole and she couldn’t bare to be inside. New York is a fantastic city. I’ve been there twice and found that it really was breathing with life, both in the people and the streets, the skyscrapers and subway.

At The Core

We called ourselves the big apple worms,
Guided by mouths agape for salted pretzels
In the concrete arboretum we had only seen
On our small television screens.

At that time, by luck and chance,
Photo opportunity with one of the stars
Who spoke softly among the anthem
Of transit buses and yellow cars
And wished us good health
As we pocketed our polaroids.

Not five minutes later, 92nd off Lexington,
Now face to face with a tall stranger
Who spoke in slang and bitterness
And in this unfortunate experience,
He forcefully withdrew my wallet
To better his circumstance
Which left me rotten and rocked
In my new world of romance.