By that time I'm sure they were all standing only due to that particular Manhattan adrenalin that I realized I had steeped in for five years only AFTER I moved away to London (which has its own proprietary blend of adrenaline, quite different from New York's).
In a future post I hope to share some of the poems the kids worked when I visited Mrs. Cantergiani's class, but for now here's my own New York poem, written about my experience of first moving there in 1986. I had finished college and even spent 6 months in Munich as an au pair, speaking German and traveling to Italy, but even so, my arrival in New York City was a bigger deal. After all, until then, New York had been a mythical, fictional place, the place that Claudia and Jamie ran away to in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and where Harriet had spied from a dumbwaiter on the Upper East Side (two of my most favorite books ever).
Moving for a strange month into a sub-sublet in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I found myself commuting by subway to Bank Street College of Education on West 110th Street and eventually LIVING on East 84th right in the middle of Harriet's stomping grounds, and standing now and then before the same fountain at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that provided "income, Claudia, income!" for meals from the machines at the Horn & Hardart Automat. (That was one thing I was sad to be too late for.) The whole experience was somewhat...well, here's the poem. As usual I can't get blogger to respect my indents; hence the leading points.
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 and canyoned floor.
Who ballooned deflated.
..barely standing five feet high. I
..glimpse sky between scaffolds.
This vertigo is not from heights
..Brooklyn. or otherwise
Head to TeacherDance with Linda for today's Poetry Friday roundup!