I feel the assault as I emerged from the ground, palming the glass globe. Shake.

Weighted necks and heavy hands
Women littered with beaded jewels
Men with gelled hair, examining nail beds
Boys dressed as cowboys
Girls dressed as lakes
Fluid, lucid beauties with ice cream colored skin and shiny acrylic nails,
clicking on stair railings and door handles
Singers tonguing notes
Musicians strum guitars covered in half peeled stickers of unknown bands
Members in suburban carpools and leads crooning in coffee shops

Where pigeons circle crumbs and bums and buildings scatter sunlight.

Visual artists and street writers posing for people staring at their phones, penning ballads and blues, their Holly Golightly lives, tucking in their hometown roots, though no one notices the loose strands, slippery vowels and silent drawls
Vibrating chords plucked as decoys
from fingers smelling of ethnic street splatter
Sweetening the stall air filled with exhaust and spiced peanuts
Pushing smoking carts with one wheel sputtering until the hiccup of sidewalk cracks

Where pigeons circle crumbs and bums and buildings scatter sunlight.

Full-lipped women strut, striking sultry poses
Body parts carved into small slices, painted blue, red, white
Seen by men robed in apocalypse and freedom
Or the Wall Street boys in their tailored suits
American flags pinned crookedly to their lapels, to their minds
Hands smelling of money and martinis, lemon wedges and wine
Market soaked tongues hidden behind rubber band lips
Discussing our 9-11 presence in the cafes
Sharing bitter grief in between bites of spinach and artichoke ravioli
with chanterelle mushrooms
Amazing and easy, five stars
Serves five
Give a high five

Where pigeons circle crumbs and bums and buildings scatter sunlight.

Sun-spill lightens dark alleys
Weaving gingham patterns around paisley shadowed shapes
While potbellied streets rumble, intestinal trains wind and howl in hungry bowels
Below the feet of mothers holding swollen bellies in midtown
Boots or bows?
Remember those days?
When love and madness collide?
When soft flesh and blankets battle the hard permanence?
In two years they’ll use their strollers as weapons
Strike the heels of those not heeding their time, discussing the merits of
xyz schools, heading towards their pre-k interviews

Where pigeons circle crumbs and bums and buildings scatter sunlight.

The sky continues to dissolve between 1st and 3rd on the grid of moving light
Messy beauties lounging on docks looking out into Times Square
Basking in the blast of neon and noise
Stretching into mirrored skies with nothing on their mind
Slingshots into infinity
Where are the candid moments?
Strike the pose, strike it rich
Children in men’s clothing, girls with womanly gestures
The budding beginning of sexual awareness
Stop sticking out you tongue, girls, or you’ll lick the cocaine floors
Under fallen chandeliers,
Swinging from your false idols
Today’s rebellion is tomorrow’s cliché
Sell your rehab memoirs in Costco for $14.99 only if you did screen time,
Twerked and grind

Where pigeons circle crumbs and bums and buildings scatter sunlight.

Night is but a reflection of lampposts in puddles,
The incandescent sludge of store and sewer runoff
Rainbow colored and ripe, black bags stacked with day old garbage, an earthy brew of make believe and true grit, of dolls and drugs, banana peels and rinds, skin clippings and half drawn faces, cotton soaked excrements and Hallmark cards
Now flip it, before the snow settles
Be the dead poet and stand on your desk
Or sit down
It’s all been done here a million times — word threaders,
shape shifters, gender benders, all the next big 42nd Avenue things
Can’t turn any heads in this concrete beast, best turning it inward

Where pigeons circle crumbs and bums and buildings scatter sunlight.

Arrange the images into magnetic fluidity and rest your eyes on
Always drawn to the irreverent face
Looking for the knowing eyes and a wounded, laughing soul
Knowing truth rewards the willing
Now shake it up
While they all fall down
Into a peaceful night when snow blankets the human stains
and quiets all the messy minds
Before the next train out, knowing tomorrow
Pigeons will circle crumbs and bums and buildings will scatter sunlight.

-S. S. Hicks


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