veins of my city clotted, dark creases,
ivory white lines. hollowed brightness,
tarnished yellow; a broken sun or
blotted lampost, or like milk, that shade
when it takes to coffee.
faded in translucent clothes,
easily read outfits and
two bit disguises: modern misery
is dolled classic narcissism. obvious –
an inability to say no or swipe left,
cheap thrills with a cover charge.
vapor smoke,overpriced beer,
metro-card limousines and
moonlight passes as if hardly there.
easing through glass like bodies, frail,
sharp, suited, and false as nails.
a stranger’s eyes cast shadows
on a fog in 59th Street- two homeless
men smoke stale cigarettes off the ground.
smiles,just ignore the hope and wile.
a house of mercy built on cardboard.
Oh, I have risen high and been driven low. Seen men laugh the hell of winter in warehouse factories, smoke circles huddled to keep warm in the frost of poverty and nicotine snow. Stale gas station bread and piss poor coffee for piss poor patrons in piss poor jobs stuck in dead end wages. Together, strangely, in more than a word. Exhaustion does strange things to quiet the soul and make a family out of shared misery. Leonard made coffee cakes on Fridays. We ciphered cigarette breaks while Cassandra played lookout for the forman. Hank didn’t say much.
Oh, I have risen high and been driven low. Broke bread and summer nights with Yale graduates, yuppies who migrated to Washington Heights when even they were too broke for SoHo. Thirsty Thursdays and 5K Marches for whatever was popular at the moment. Empty nights full of cocktails on rooftops that overlook Manhattan and sympathy. Overseas relief efforts in LoFi filters, hashtagged humanitarianism at its worse. Intellectuals that are only in it for themselves.
Oh, I have risen high and been driven low. Met the greatest and worst minds of our generation, found little difference in both. The vagabond desperate to make his ends meet, and the conglomerate tied in a knot of vanity and himself. Where is the lesson? What is there to learn from these peaks of top and bottom? Nothing.
Life is a but a poor struggle, or a rich one.