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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New York

(Radiator Building, New York
by Georgia O’Keefe, 1887-1986,
American artist)

New York City has traditionally been the favorite landing place for both the immigrants from abroad and the internal migrants leaving their small towns for the promises of a big city. “I want to be a part of it / These vagabond shoes are longing to stray / right through the very heart of it, New York, New York,” sang Frank Sinatra (1915-1998).

New York City is also, for millions of people around the world, the place they think of when they picture America.


new york, madame,
is a monument to a city
it is
a gigantic pike
whose scales
bristled up stunned

and what used to be just smoke
found a fire that gave it birth

champagne foam
melted into metal
glass rivers
flowing upwards
and things you won’t tell to a priest
you reveal to a cabdriver

even time is sold out
when to the public’s “wow” and “shhh”
out of a black top hat
a tailed magician
is pulling new york out
by the ears of skyscrapers

~ Valzhyna Mort, American poet born 1981 in Minsk, Belarus; translated by Franz Wright and Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright

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