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Oct 2013
written on a fall Sunday, many years ago (2010), after attending the New York City Ballet, walking home through Central Park, New York City*

In my sweet city,
city where I bore
my first breath,
city where I'll be laid down
to my perma-rest:

the hues of my life
are city pastels,
colorful shades of asphalt
and concrete gray,
interspersed with the
speckled glitter of
sidewalk fruit refuse and
57 Heinz varieties of the
potpourri of human creation

this color schema
is the coda of my
urbanized DNA,
though product unique of my
Father and Mother,
I have been
genetically modified
in the laboratory
of the streets
of my sweet city

the city's temperature is
alternating currents of a
tortuous halfway tween
summer's sweaty heat
and winter's capable chill

these concerto variations of
the air outside
depend on the
angle of the sun and
how it penetrates the

individualized charcoal filter
of grit and dirt, that is
a NY city's dweller necessary,
necessary filter to survive,

this filter,
the viewing lens
of the lives surrounding,
is our individualized seal,
displayed upon the shield,
our city passport,
our driving license to live,
the municipality deems
we must carry
with us everywhere

In my sweet city
two rivers(1) in bay meet,
ceding control to the
Atlantic's penultimate ocean's parenting,
but not before,
each river channels deep cuts across the
the city's personality
and mine

city of towers, majestic n' fallen,
city of babbling tongues,
symphony of languages,
your ceaseless movements
are pirouettes of emotions.

your people, my people,
are one people
tous membres de notre
corps de ballet,
see us dancing
upon the rooftops,
in bamboo jungles (2)
on museum roofs
amidst the treetops of our
parks, central to our lives

on this island city,
grew up bounded in physic,
yet unfettered in spirit,
periodically to escape
we took the
train to the plane(3)
across ocean and fruited plain
carrying our peculiar filter,
seeing the world through
our city's eyes

built on volcanic rock and
the timbers of ships discarded,
silt and refuse of Gen's past,
burial grounds n' cemeteries (4)
of slaves and immigrants,
my sweet city was born in
granite gestalt and schist,
paved over with pave tears
of millions of dreams,
some, realized, most defeated,

In my sweet city,
where I'll be laid down
to my perma-rest,
this body and soul,
these poems, these words,
will be one more striated layer
to be torn down, dug up,
built on,

and in this soil
I will attend,
your arrival most welcome,
and in the shade of our hades,
our filters discarded,
our passports unrenewed,
for historical purposes
our bones and papers, reviewed,
each other we will regale,
with our sweet city's tales.

September 2010
(1) the Hudson and the East River
(2) bamboo city exhibition on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum, overlooking the parkΓΊ
(3) "train to the plane" the subway to Kennedy Airport
(4) the city used its refuse, ships timbers, even the cemetery of slaves as filler to build upon
Nat Lipstadt
Written by
Nat Lipstadt  M/nyc
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