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Poetic License: New York Minutes

By Staff | Sep 9, 2015

9:37 AM, Sept. 1, 2001,

JFK Airport

never mind nanoseconds

we used to say

there is no time in the universe

like a New York minute

for getting it done

with speed and style

never mind the smile

try a New York minute

today is too late

tomorrow never comes

yesterday is the time

for a New York minute

not in L.A. or D.C.

London or Paree

Manhattan’s the place

for a New York minute

1:10 PM, Sept. 2, 2001:

Manhattan streets I saunter, pondering

how my city is booming, changing,

scaffolding skeletoned over buildings being reborn,

cell phone voices darting by in all directions,

construction and traffic in constant cacophony –

but taxis still playing chicken with pedestrians,

buses belching like buffalos,

illegal parking everywhere –

welcome back lover, native son.

7:23 PM, Sept. 7, 2001 (Times Square)

The old and the young, the chic and the tourists,

the shapers and the shapeless, the hopeless and the hip

the buyers and the beggars, the idle and the busy,

the blacks, whites, browns, yellows and rainbows,

all pounding and surging in thousands,

America singing East Side, West Side,

on the sidewalks of New York –

my pulse up and revving again

in New York minutes.

8:46 AM, Sept. 11, 2001

(Sanibel Island)

O, the poetry I was bringing back!

In and out of love with you all over again,

Mannahatta of Walt Whitman,

your streets and sidewalks –

sauntered, strolled, meandered, dallied,

ambled and rambled upon

by all your poet sons and daughters –

I was set like them to celebrate

and sing your energy,

the majesty of your towers and spires,

set also to catalogue your contradictions,

rue your faults, forgive your indifference.

O, the praise and ironies I would wring

from my latest two weeks in New York –

but on this morning

as the whole CNN’d world watches,

America’s heart stops beating

while the new millennium

of terror and consequences spawns

in humanity’s newest, most horrible moment —

the September 11 New York minute –

like no time in the universe.

10:15 AM, Sept. 2, 2013

Manhattan streets I walk again, watching

scaffolds on buildings being reborn

refill the giant vacancies in the sky—

cell phone voices singing all around me,

construction and traffic ringing again

in joyous cacophony,

the heartbeat of America

and all the glowing cities of the world

pulsing stronger than ever

in New York minutes –

like no time in the universe.