Rendre hommage

Wired on the JFK expressway no plans for sleep
a world away Paris waits for dawn
we reach the kerb on 46th knowing we will walk into the night.

Fifth Avenue flows in floods
rain in rods light streams
tar-black red-stop cab-yellow amber-tail neon-shop

Green. Walk.

We talk drenched with delight the late November windows a tribute to firefighters this year when the rain meets the tears.

A window onto a city hungry for vengeance Oie pour oie dent pour dent

My face in the glass
of New York’s bravest
and carrying my daypack – How old I look here – like my own grandfather

displaced to the shoulders a half-head too short

like and unlike

He spent his years in deep down –
“mineur de charbon” – captain of the rescues
he’d have gone into the towers with them as comrades

I am eleven
I find him in his chair – I think he is sleeping

For a moment the fireman carries a small child on his shoulders –
the fireman is smiling.

I wonder
what would this man make of my life?

Half in Europe, half in this city.
Love/ Pride / Confusion / Contempt for a man with soft hands making money producing nothing

He never held a passport had no time for bankers

My lover shakes my arm
Walking again into the rain towards bagels, bottomless coffee bright neon metal-shine.

he held an union card
maybe he’d welcome the poet

the child is gone

On Time Square a cinema It’s A Wonderful Life –

3.30 am.

I see him again in the
steam venting on a sidewalk

Blocks away – a siren

somewhere, an angel gets its wings