I’ve walked the edges of New York City, and right through the center.
I’ve left my footfalls on sidewalks, over high bridges, in underground tunnels.
Yet the city eludes me.
I gather puzzle pieces, individual experiences, and cram them together,
trying for the full picture.
The small Asian woman ordering passersby into her shop. “You come inside, now.”
The lithe black woman, unnoticed, singing songs of the city in a public park. “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”
The wheelchair-bound man, blanket pulled over his head, snoring loudly, all of his possessions in a pack tied to his feet.
The perfectly sculpted 20-something walking six dogs, practicing his monologues aloud. “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we of might win by fearing to attempt.”
The red-tied man, donut and coffee in hand, negotiating loudly over cell phone while he thunders down the steps. “Time is money. Buy, buy, buy.”
This city, in all its scope and slope and texture.
Penthouses scraping skylines, rats scurrying over subway tracks, Broadway ballads, melted cheese, flashing neon, dirty rivers, Tower of Babel-levels of spoken confusion, shined shoes with mud in the treads.
This city, that must be lived in transitions:
waiting to be discovered… to demanding discovery
struggle and survival… to testing personal resolve
paying too much for too little… to being paid too little for too much
This city, where being stepped on is appreciated, where hustling is a way of life, where living the dream means doing long past the point of wanting to do.
This city, where symbols of freedom cast shadows on systems of injustice.
And both, and all, must be seen and expected.
And that’s New York.