New York, NY
I came across her at a ripe hour,
catching the breeze, daring fate, waltzing to a beat of her own,
all this in drunken stupor, the beat playing on and on in her head.
Spectacles of horror, one night, every night.
Only fools mistake the time for a quiet time,
fools who fail to see how bright it can be,
the might of it all,
the conﬁdence of it.
Night dogs walked between parked cars,
scratching boulevards like the old records their mamas used to play
Teeth sharp, backs arched, sloping those streets like it was their
No straight line for them, it ain’t no yellow brick road from here.
Back-alley, dilly-dallying old cats launch shadows over concrete,
concrete shivering not by the winter’s chill but by the shadow of the
These girls grew up too fast; their mamas taught them how to
launch a shadow,
and the mamas before them,
and the mamas before them.
The creatures met beneath the red light,
cats brushing soft, tender, cheap perfumes
onto the sharp-toothed gargoyle-like animals,
and the dance began.
I remember a sharp f-minor, eerily off
The street rippled like a backbone,
lights ﬂickering, stop-signs shaking,
but the moment wouldn’t stop, not till it
had its ﬁll.
Trombones leaped out of sewage pipes,
pianos out of ﬁre-hydrants,
African drums from the depths of a
french horns from out of phone-lines.
A cacophony of sounds formed in the
drop of a note.
Then there was a howl,
the howl of some
a thing clearly and undeniably evil and
cruel in nature.
Perhaps it was a dog, or a cat, or a rodent
who wanted to really kick things off.
Then for the glorious build.
The dogs and cats joined bodies,
morphing into one,
their paws scratching old pavement,
their shadows freezing the concrete,
one huge conglomeration, moving in
Hearts were slashed from pitiless bodies,
beating on cold concrete and spurting
out melodies and ditties,
lights torn from sockets in the wake of
ambulances screaming ﬁnal notes as they
sped through voluptuous hills of the
To them, this was the night.
It was the only night that could ever
have occurred in time and space.
But I watched from my window, and I
watched every night from my window.
I knew--I know that every night is a
In this town.
The night becomes something new here.
See I thought it was my time, they
thought it was theirs.
But the truth is that the night is
nobody’s but its own.
All I can do is sit here and watch it