Everything is different but the same, and the feeling I had stepping off the bus was different but exactly the same. Here's a poem I wrote in 1986 and revised for a workshop with Daisy's class in 2012 (they wrote poetry in response to their NYC trip too). Now I find it's time for a BIG revision--time for a companion poem, or should it be contrast or competitor poem? This second version is rough, but I wonder if I've captured my dizzyingly changed perspective...
New York Vertigo, 1986
What I am I’m huge I’m high.
Arrive in Red Hook subdeep July
I alight. afire and mighty
queen of the borough.
Arrive and then descend.
I go vertical. I dive.
upside under bricks and bridges.
Where periscope disturbed. ascending
to this island state. a nation
of buildings crushing up and looming.
I’m flattened. I’m pinioned
to Manhattan’s curbed & canyoned floor.
Who ballooned deflated.
barely standing five feet high. I
glimpse sky between scaffolds.
This vertigo is not from heights
Brooklyn. or otherwise
all rights reserved
New York Vertigo, 2015
What I am I’m slow. I’m older.
Arrive Manhattan subSpring, undry
I alight. unchill and stilling--
queen of Dysurbia.
Arrive and then revolve.
I stay horizontal, spin.
inside beyond stoops and scaffolds
Where memory destroyed. pretending:
I could still belong. formation
of people crushing up and blooming.
I mattered, additioned
to this island’s vast and varied more.
Who defined belated.
daring standing eight feet deep, I
glimpse me between marriage.
This vertigo evolves from states
Empire, and otherwise
--HM 2015all rights reserved
One of the things that it's EASY to remember about living in New York is what I was wearing--what I shopped for, what I could barely afford and saved for, what I could barely afford and bought anyway, what I felt totally cool in and what I wished I hadn't worn. (Sidebar: it was NOT spring in NYC this week and I knew that and still ended up wearing not quite the right thing despite my detailed strategic planning. Sigh.) I'll be exploring some of these sartorial considerations in my guest post over at Author Amok on Monday, where Laura Shovan is asking "What Are You Wearing to National Poetry Month?" Don't miss this series of posts on clothing-related poems!
The round-up today is another NPM celebration with Laura Purdie Salas as our host--connect with many poems at Writing the World for Kids!