On Washington Square Park

[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

reminds me

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.


Resembling God

craving for a fix

at the dawn of creation.


He becomes me

I become him

We become God.

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