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
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.
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 –
I see him again in the
steam venting on a sidewalk
Blocks away – a siren
somewhere, an angel gets its wings