New York, whenever I come back,
I wonder why I left in the first place,
like a frustrated lover sneaking out your backdoor
but you always knew
I was gone before morning.
You have always been my kind of gorgeous,
sparkling like a river reflected sunset
but you were never the imitated form
of something else. Other skylines blink tenderly,
almost ashamed of their curves and sharp edges
but you, you are always confident,
your lights and sights blinding;
it is impossible not to love something
that never needed to be called beautiful.
Thank you for taking us,
the daughters of countries that told us
we would never amount to more than what our hips could carry,
and promising us all we were queens.
You wear your crown like a halo,
and I am not religious or superstitious,
but I swear you make me feel
like I could walk on water. I would not
be half the woman I am today
if I didn’t have you to aspire to be,
city of endless wonder, New York. You
satiate the wanderlust of every lost Alice,
and I could spend my entire life riding the F train,
and never find a way out of this rabbit hole.
I have traveled from the Bronx to Staten Island,
hoping to learn all the parts of you
so that I can tattoo the length of your masterpiece
across my heart, for all my other loves to see:
you will always have some part of me.
There are still narrow streets, dark alleyways
that I have not seen
and you might want to hide your secrets
from unsuspecting tourists
but you don’t ever need
to hide your old battle scars from me.
Ground Zero does not make you any less brave
or any less of a diamond; city that never sleeps,
if you just closed your eyes once
you would see that falling
towers cannot bring an empire down.
Issue, looks great :)
Poem for you:
These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when Earth’s foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.
Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.
You shall be my roots and
I will be your shade,
though the sun burns my leaves.
You shall quench my thirst and
I will feed your fruit,
though time takes my seed.
And when I’m lost and can tell nothing of this earth
you will give me hope.
And my voice you will always hear.
And my hand you will always have.
For I will shelter you.
And I will comfort you.
And even when we are nothing left,
not even in death,
I will remember you.
From House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, Exhibit F.
Sorry if I sound cliche, sorry if I sound wannabe or pretentious or haughty. Sorry if I sound anything bad. I mean this only for my own benefit. No one follows this blog anyone.
Right now, my brother is talking angrily. Passionately. With great conviction, about the mosque building and how he thinks extremists are stupid and that the protest is stupid and how the protesters are denying other people’s basic human rights. My dad is talking to him, rather more sedately—“Why do you feel like this?” “Why are you so angry?”
I have to admire him. My brother, that is. He’s well informed on many things I am not. But I also feel that all this passion and anger—YES, IT IS GOOD—But I’m not that type of person.
I can see where one side feels one way and another side feels another. I understand how they feel. How one side feels about rights and how the other side feels about those same rights. One view or another may be misguided or wrong. Heck, both might be wrong. Both might be right. Who are we to judge? We, humans who have only been installed with this faulty moral compass….we, humans born with brains that blur right and wrong so much that the line between is as hazy as the border between sea and land. Yes, that one’s a hazy border; the sea is underlaid by land and earth, after all.
I have opinions. They might not be so vehement, yet they exist. How I feel?
I feel that each side is protesting for a right. Their own belief.
I feel that no matter how any one side feels, how angry others may get, the controversy it stirs…a right hard won is so sweet as to never be forgotten.
Examples? Women’s rights. Sure we got the right to vote and sure many women don’t utilize it. But this empowerment of women—what has it led to? More female valedictorians than male; more females in college than males; businesses with female heads have higher returns (this might be a bad stat—I heard it on a radio commercial.)
Or, to bring up what is possibly bad blood—the freeing of slaves. Alright. A lot of black people have a bad reputation sometimes. My dad is so stereotypical it’s crazy. He just classified races…”Mexicans have tons of teenage pregnancies” “Black people are good at breakdancing” “Black people can get into college more easily because they’re black” all things like that. I won’t deny statistics. I won’t deny that stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. And I know that race is so important to identities today. In my super cliquey school, race is predominant—not in a bad way, necessarily. But it’s definitely a huge part of a personal identity. But back to the point. After the freeing of slaves, African Americans have undoubtedly empowered themselves. Some of them are huge role models. MLK Jr. Malcolm X. Obama, who—despite what people think of his presidency—is still a landmark in the history of the American presidency. Don’t you think that since the freedom of slaves and the right to be considered equal and not THREE FIFTHS of a person, African Americans have advanced? It’s been a hard struggle, and things are still not easy, but still.
No system is perfect. The American government surely isn’t. But rights. Once gotten, are they not dear? Something you fight over and sweat over and toil over and labor over; it costs blood and tears and pieces and fragments of your mind and soul and heart. I think that the struggle is beautiful. I think the raw human emotions accompanying each struggle is beautiful. I think that is the pinnacle of the human existence.
So go ahead, brother. Go ahead, father. Go ahead all those protesters and fighters and rebels. Talk and be angry and do what you will. It may be right, it may be wrong, you may be judged as a black devil or white angel. Certainly I don’t vindicate everyone.
But, aren’t these struggles so….hard?
Aren’t the triumphs sweet and the losses so bitter as to make you weep?
Can’t you savor the fact that you can feel so much?