Manhattan Lunch Hour

It is summer and the city is in heat. Snapshots of passing faces, staring up from the tedium of matter. Everyone has a texture; many have a story. Girl with tattoo on shoulder walking two dogs — one light brown, short hair, the other black and fluffy. Unshaven man, about 40, turns to look at her ass. His denim jacket is a shell on his wasted body. A punk teen sits against a building, massaging her boyfriend’s shoulders. His hair is dyed, his long legs jut into the path of pedestrians, ending in orange platform shoes. They are sheepishly enjoying being a spectacle. Spare change, sir? Black dredlocked rasta with shopping bags, palms forward, showing veined forearms. Faraway look. Bodies blur into a sea of thought. There are many lonely trajectories, and ample clusters of blind affiliation. Ambulatory pods of muscle and bone. I am one.

DNA, string of replication, the experience squeezes itself from one node to the next, compounding, complexifying, perpetuating itself. Like sap flowing, like crystals growing. I think of it and moan.


Wood darkens into night
shapes of houses, soft
over a low stone bridge
blown with fallen leaves
Water flutters under it.

One way or another
Out of me
By trails worn in grass
running between sidewalk and river
Or once through rows of ramshackle houses
thinning out towards open country
hinting of apiaries and vinyards
I moved on.

Such dreams are real
by virtue of that silence
left behind by the body
When senses clarify,
distilled to their most potent
aqua vitae.