Categories
NYC Poetry

May ivy

This time of year, the ivy on red brick walls glows Kelly green,

The same shade of the summer tops aunts wear to church under cardigans.

I could never pull off a green like that, but the ivy wears it well.

Categories
NYC Poetry

By the second, my own self sinks deeper below my feet,

Lodging itself firmly into the asphyxiated earth under layers of asphalt and iron.

Like them, I wish to exist without apology –

I was only put here, after all.

Categories
Stories

A Bird in the Park

I’m swimming in earth and can’t move. The trees and grass are overpoweringly green, the stones in the ground golden and blue, depending on where the sun is in the sky. In this noonday light, my skin looks more radiant than it really is, and my cheeks are warmer than in the average given moment.

I am confused, like some roots that unexpectedly exit the ground, assume they will become a tree, then become increasingly bewildered as they only form into what is known as a lump, as a sore thumb.

God, get me out of here.

A golden-crowned kinglet hops over, pecking the earth as it goes; every leaf or root with a meal, it kisses. I can move now, and step closer.

It does not run; it even comes closer, as if I have something to offer. Really, I have nothing but admiration and awe, to observe how this sphere of feathers and flight moves alongside me, and how easily it flies, yet not fleeing from me.

Do I? I do. I reach in order to tentatively touch, and with the back of my index finger, stroke the down between its wings. I have done nothing, yet everything, and I am happy.

I eventually leave, as is necessary, but I am still in the park in my mind.

It was not wrong to reach out, nor was it reproachable to touch a willing creature, but do others think the same? Do they know what I’ve seen? As far as I could tell, the bird was well, and could not have harmed me, nor I it.

Oh, how I long for things to be right and to be won.

Categories
Favorites Poetry

Victory’s Lament

In the shadow of Mount Sinai I was born

Into a city that I had called my own, even when I had lost memory of it.

I had sought out its beauties, unrivaled in sea or on land and

Learned to love it for its brusqueness and elegance so crowded together, then beyond separation.

Are you happy now? That heads are rolling in the street, that the fat now have more to eat, that God’s places are filled with satanic doctrine, that anyone do any deed he pleases?

You didn’t say you wanted utter destruction, but you did – and you hated me, didn’t you? I sensed you would murder me, with long knife slashes gushing pools of blood if earthly consequences could be dammed.

Even God’s wrath is held back for a time – it is only by his grace that both the righteous and the evil have not been struck dead. I am struck with grief, that you take the sign of God’s mercy for pride, that you seek to dismantle every good thing that comes from above, wearing the raw skins of newborn lambs to do so.

He has already won the war – you will endlessly writhe in agony, for you have forever rejected your one salvation. You shall never touch the splendor of God, even when you have torn down the holiest of temples and the finest masterpieces from the hands and mouths of God’s messengers. For even now, my grief is only temporary at this marring of man’s creation, and therefore God’s – but you shall never snatch me from my Shepherd’s hand; my Lover’s arm; you shall never silence my Helper’s voice, the eternal Word that has ordained all that is, and therefore me. What has been paid has been paid from eternity to eternity, and my soul is forever bathed in my Redeemer’s blood; no matter how much blood is taken from me, His blood has made me pure and I am his friend.

You are not satisfied (for you, true happiness is forever an impossibility), and will never be; the day of salvation is at hand; the Lamb’s wedding is nigh; and no scheme nor construction will have it delayed. Out goes you, to the scalding pit, whose residents shall never again know God’s grace that he so lovingly bestows on all who still live.

And so in sorrow and quivering anger I say all that I can utter. This is not undue, yet what is to come cannot be undone. Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, He is before and behind me, I am hedged in on either side in love, and He has borne it all for that which is set before Him:

Joy that will never know its end.

Categories
Favorites Poetry

Evacuate

As cities are sacked,

Our clothing is packed,

As well as most of our earthly assets.

How many caskets

Are soon to be built?

How many bear guilt when cold blood is spilt?

None firsthand I’ve seen;

The info I glean

Doesn’t help me know what’s quite happening.

A slingshot I bring,

Strange brownstones in dreams –

These days, nothing is what it seems.

Categories
Poetry

Ignited Nations

Looming since I was ten years old,

The United Nations stand steely down the lane.

In queer calm and wonder I behold

Them all creak, topple over, burn to a charred frame.

From the turbid water I watch

And spectate in panoramic view

Humanity, a splattered blotch

Become lesser, controlled and few.

Categories
NYC

A Love Letter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Within your walls, I’ve gone on countless wanderings. At your doors, I’ve met both family and dear friends. Is it lonely, with your halls empty, only sometimes echoing with the clicking of guards’ heels on the floor?

Your stone steps I’ve climbed dozens of times, your tall, wide halls I’ve passed through on countless occasions. As I wove my way among your statues, I grew in height, even in intellect (supposedly), and recorded my experience of your reality through pencil and camera.


Now there is nobody to witness golden Diana deftly drawing her arrow, no one to shiver at the Aztec knives and grotesquely exaggerated Oceanic sculpture. Nobody is peering into the eyes of the dead that lay in their sarcophagi, the bodies carved into wood and stone.

The outline of your Evening I have traced multiple times in pencil into sketchbooks. Now, her soft form I had once shaded goes unseen – she shields her face only from eyes of marble and bronze.


Is there no music anymore? I would imagine that the saxophone player can no longer come to your steps, playing and dancing like he did before. Where dozens of languages were spoken everyday, now there are none at all. Orchestras no longer gather on your balcony. Dancing, laughter, everything is gone.

Everything is gone.


I have only lived a fraction of your lifetime. As I grow and shrink, your pharaohs and knights will remain poised, your painted girls will still blush, and your martyrs will continue to bleed in eternal blessing.

The face of God hangs on hundreds of your walls, his glorious works you hold on display. Can I see them like that once again?

Categories
NYC

03/17/2020

Manhattan’s 42nd street on March 17, 2020 as viewed from the bridge of Tudor City Place.

This Covid-19 situation, especially in places like New York City, seems very surreal. Everything is changing so quickly – in the matter of a few weeks, many countries and some of the biggest cities in the world are for the most part shut down, with their streets slowly emptying of the normal traffic. Many people are going through difficulties with family and work because of what is being done. For the younger of us, we have never seen anything like this happen before. People are being sent home from foreign countries. We are being told to remain within our houses, away from school and work, in order to slow and eventually stop the spread of this new virus.

If many people are infected and in danger of dying, especially the elderly and others who are more susceptible to fatality from the virus, it is only right that these precautions should be put in place. And it is my inclination to believe what I am being told by my government.

But the question has briefly crossed my mind: Is this real? All the information those of us who are not directly encountering the virus receive is from online sources – from our screens. Even if this is all real – which I believe it is – it doesn’t seem too far off of a possibility that something like this could be faked. At least in a movie. That would make an interesting movie.

It’s a nagging thought once realized. It’s silly, but the current situation feels very strange. It will be a matter of time before we can see what is to come from these precautions or the lack thereof. Better safe than sorry. But right now, this feels like a very uncomfortable dream.

As my younger brother said today, “Being alive is the most surreal thing ever.”

Categories
Favorites Poetry

Kiku Sushi / 聞く

Kiku Sushi –

Where friends run;

Stomachs, souls, and cellphones charged,

All for the price of one.

The window happened to go both ways;

The world and restaurant on the tiredest of days,

Of weeks, months, years –

(Let’s be honest), of decades.

The memories that we made

Might’ve been tinted, clouded, greyed;

Sincerely, I hope the afternoon sunlight shed

Didn’t make your night grow darker or more decayed.

Sleep tight, my friend, then I shall.

Categories
Poetry

Is this the very same sandpit?

Drowning out the light of the moon,

The Jumbotrons swim along the street,

Coughing perpetually, spitting battery acid

On the man who may as well be invisible.

Invisible to who? And what may he do?

From the streets the answer may sound –

Encouraging or in utmost despair,

Damage the fold of your fluffy coat.

While the blocks revolve round puzzles of irony to solve,

Plagues and problems and muddled things

Reside in ever-deepening, evaporating puddles,

Gasping for the mercy of fresh rain.