Night over Lower Manhattan

A poem by V. St. Percival

The paved beige stretched over, beneath

The careless sky, didn’t you see the street

Ran with cheap beer and perennial philosophy?


When that poor sod couldn’t even shuffle his way to work

Amid the signs and sights of this cold city


Nero’s circus wasn’t always round, and when it was there was far more blood.

I knew. I know. A thief in the night

The uncarved Wall stands between me and the street

He’s pocketing here and there, this and that, beast and birthright


But nobody told you he could climb; everyone at this open-air party

Sulks and skulks and trudges the timid notion that even Heaven plays


In tune with those double-dealers that straddle the sidewalks, selling

Souls and organic salads and plastic-wrapped theodicies.


Ninety-eight ways to go out with a bang in the televised jungle,

But you’ve stuck it to him, haven’t ya?


Our supple bodies stuck to the storm drains

A trillion lives and miles disgraced by everything under Heaven,


And among toils and boiling Heads that roll and rage below the quiet stars,

I’ve cast my vote to the thoughtless wide,


the careless Sky and the barren streets


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