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World Trade Center / Mail Runner / ’71

ISSUE:  Summer 2007

Every city a response to the indifference of geology.
From the pier on West Street the towers were sun on steel.

I felt the tone-hole sockets vibrate in my hand,
I felt what does it take to win your love for me

woozy like bourbon, insistent as the crowds pushing around me
to the lunch carts and heavenly benches.

By the time I pressed the buttons Junior Walker’s sax
was swallowing the elevator.

I rose up a vertigo of keys into the plane lingo
of anodized aluminum and blue-skied-out windowpanes;

if the merging of writing and bureaucracy started urban life,
if a city could levitate on arbitrage and junk bonds—

If the sea above were like the Hudson down here, if
I tried, I tried, I tried in every way I could.

The vents were cooling me down,
I had a check for a half million in my pocket (a lot for those days).

At the sky lobby on the 47th I looked out
at the barges and tugs on the filthy gold water—

the Colgate clock on the Jersey side ticking
in the late capitalist haze; looked out into the mica flakes of air—

the gulls flat as floating money,
the sun spilling on the geology of invisible numbers.


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