Posts Tagged ‘New York’

I hope we remember forever
this trip to New York—
remember the trees in pink bloom
along the High Line in Chelsea,
remember the tiramisu
at Joe G.’s near Carnegie,
remember the reflecting pool
outside the Lincoln Center,
and how the whole city shined
after rain. And I hope we remember
forever the way the man stole my brown hat
when the wind blew it off my head
and he shouted It’s mine, It’s mine, and ran off,
how unsettling it was to be interviewed
by the newspaper of a cult, and
what a bummer it is to have food poisoning
and try to watch a play.
I hope we remember forever the memorial
where the twin towers once stood—
how beautiful the falling water is
and how grave.
This is the way the world is—
so lost and so precious all at once.
Each time something was tough,
I would say to myself, well, no one died.
But you and I know that sometimes
the one we love dies.
And we can bear it.
Not only can we bear it,
we can thrive. We will find beauty
and gravity everywhere we go
and still, we can love this world,
we can love each other,
still we can love, we can love.

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     composed by Jeffrey Nytch, conducted by Elizabeth Swanson

Sitting in the red velvet chair
in the first tier box of Carnegie Hall,
I was well aware
that for some in the audience,
this was just another song being sung,
one more moment of beauty
in a long string of moments of beauty,
but for me, looking down at that stage
full of singers, the pianist, the conductor,
I saw, too, the same space thirty-seven years ago
when my father and I sat in chairs on the stage
and listened to Vladimir Ashkenazy play piano
and my dad whispered to me,
This is only the first time
you’ll be on stage at Carnegie Hall.
So when one hundred twenty people
began to sing words I wrote,
their voices both thundersome and tender,
I lived into the chance to be who
my dad believed I could be,
the chance to live through music,
the chance to grow into a dream.

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And there on the corner
of 43rd and 8th, while sirens
wailed past us and the sun
played hide and seek
behind theaters and high rise hotels,
she told me how, five years
after her husband’s death,
grief has unfolded
into profound tenderness,
how loss has helped her feel
a sense of home in the divine—
and I wished every street corner
in every city
might be so blessed
by conversation,
words that float like incense
through the wailing morning air,
something heady as sweet amber,
sensual as rosemary,
something that infuses
the urban drive
with the woody scent of peace,
something so true it proves
every inch of this scarred earth
is host for the sacred,
and that no matter where we are,
we might find another
who helps us blossom wider
into the shocking flower
of gifts so much greater
than our selves.

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In a city with thirty-thousand restaurants
and three hundred sky scrapers
and thirteen thousand taxis

KC guides us through a garden gate
to the open window
of an old brick church

and greets Father Spencer
in his office. Within a minute
we are sitting in a small paneled room

full of photos and poems
and hands cut out of paper,
and though there are nearly

nine million people
thrumming around us,
for a few quiet moments

his attention makes us feel
as if amidst it all
we count.

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Walking 5th Avenue

I am again fifteen
with my father,
my first trip to New York,
and he is not yet
in life-changing pain,
and we stare
in store windows,
eat street pretzels
and look for sales racks.
I don’t know yet
how he will hurt
too much to walk,
how even standing
will become impossible.
No, in this memory
we are walking
and laughing
as if we will forever,
as if there won’t
be a morning
when I wake in New York
almost four decades later
and reach to call him
and thank him
for that long ago trip,
only to remember
he can no longer
answer the phone.
All day, I hear his laughter
as I walk. All day,
I feel his hand
reaching for mine.

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