[Since my life in NYC revolves so much around Washington Square Park, I have been mulling over jotting down my thoughts for quite some time. Finally, I have done it in the form of a poem. For some reason, while editing, I couldn’t get the stanza breaks right. I have put asterisks at the end of each stanza to indicate stanza breaks.]
The man sits on a corner bench,
the pigeons hover around him
perch on his shoulders
pick food from his hands
peck at his flaky, deformed skin
the distant look in his eyes
of other shores, of other worlds
of the Buddha.
The pianist plays in the middle
of the dry water-fountain
on his portable piano
we all sit around in rapture
we clap, put money in the bucket.
There is no inspiration here,
the concrete space, the programed fingers
hit the notes
scribbled on a piece of paper.
They sit on the margins of the park,
with their black skin and crinkly hair
absorbed in games of chess
games of life having been long lost
willing to forget the humiliations
memories of home
oceans and continents away.
I sit on a bench next to them
look into their deep warm eyes
partake of their throaty laughter
I long to immerse myself
in their skin, in their bones.
A tourist with the smell of a foreign land
passes by with his baby, stops
slips the baby into his lap
a fair-skinned baby on the lap
of a black-skinned, crinkly-haired
a framed-memory to carry home
of a holiday well-spent.
I go circling and circling,
eavesdropping on moments of loverly intimacy
yellow, brown, black-skinned baby-sitters
gingerly drag their white-babied prams
a mother neatly arranges
muffins and drinks
on the lawn
for her son’s first birthday.
Across the street,
he howls leaning against the wall
he writhes on the pavement
the bruises on his forehead
on his muscular forearms
imprints of violence on the self.
craving for a fix
at the dawn of creation.
He becomes me
I become him
We become God.