This is the city, and I am one of the citizens

Originally uploaded by Pro-Zak

“This is the city and I am one of the citizens. Whatever interests the rest interests me” – Walt Whtiman

Walt on my mind as I work through an unexpected phase in my work where I take on the lone line and (as Barb points out) have to bring my “I” into the forefront.

Mind you, I am no Whitman scholar and have only made it through bits and pieces of “Leaves of Grass” but as an American poet I feel Whitman all around me and have heard traces of his voice in so much of the work that has brought me to my current stage of poetic development. A stage that I would not have imagined myself in a week ago but the inspiration (led on by a looming deadline) hits and then that recessive Whitman DNA gene kicked in.

Sidenote: The Whitman DNA gene reference comes from Philip Levine’s excellent introduction to Imago, Joseph O. Legaspi’s first collection of poems.

Sidenote 2: See the Projects in the accompanying photo? That’s where I grew up. Jus thought I would slip in some of that BX pride and throw another shout out to Vogelium, the same photographer whose work is on the cover of Anywhere Avenue.

from And God said “Vaya”

I should have been sound asleep, or at least pretending to be, pretending not to hear what goes on at night
Instead I was watching my ceiling change from light grey to dirty white and figuring out a name for this new color
Then I heard that familiar firecracker snap, it went inside me and wouldn’t leave, all stuck in my ears
Then I could taste a spoonful of ash in my mouth like the way you pull on that last little bit of cigarette
My body went all into shakes as if the bullet was inside me trying to get out, hitting every joint it could find
I swear the whole City must have felt it, from here to Brooklyn and back again, this one long bullet
But the night said different, the night was a calm flat lake, the night acted like it didn’t hear a thing
The City was the same way, I was hoping someone else would come out and say something


That question is what’s got me motivated enough to walk all over the Bronx in the dead of the night
I’m trying to figure out what happened to that bullet: Where’d it go? Stuck in some wall? Stuck in somebody?
What is it’s still up in the air waiting to drop on some fool? Some poor fool looking for God where their ain’t even a clean subway


I am thinking that I am in the right place, this is where that single bullet from last night is waiting to meet me
The rust is growing inside me with every breath, when I exhale it gathers up on the broken slide next to me
I used to be able to ride down on the silver back of this slide on my heels like a plane cutting through clouds
Now I’m scared of gravity, of what it’s doing to me, the way it’s bringing down my home, the way it tumbles buildings
The way it’s pulling my body closer to a dead City and farther from God, who has decided to forget about this place

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