5/23/2011

The Big Apple

Today, I feature another Cyril Dabydeen poem, The Big Apple. Enjoy.

The Big Apple

I have decided to be cheerful;
on Fifth Avenue, I lost
twenty dollars in a card game.

I, who felt I was smart,
fell into such a trap,
mesmerized by the sleight of hand.

Now, back at my own game,
responding to words only,
I wait here by the New York City Library,

thinking how best to pursue my craft,
mulling over passers-by,
the old man chasing after a youth -

"Stop him!" he cries.
A few feet away, a woman
reads Marquez; asks her boyfriend

if he knew him
and what solitude conveys
to the rest of us. I consider

metaphor like distance -
the forest floor of a city
swirling in the summer's heat.

The drama continues to grip
our minds; the crowd larger;
finger on the trigger;

this assault forced upon us,
as I imagine greenbacks -
an orchard in me perhaps -

eloquent with each new card
a cue to meaning,
grappling with a youth's escape,

as hands proliferate like leaves
on a tree, this ruse of losing
one's money and succumbing

to art for art's sake:
I flutter in this make-believe,
clinging steadfastly to words!

Copyright Cyril Dabydeen 2004. From Imaginary Origins. Selected Poems 1970-2002. Reprinted with author's permission.

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