​​​Miriam E.Tucker

Shades of Manhattan
(Written October 2001)

The early October sun splayed over Manhattan, 
Still, I removed my shades. 
Sunglasses protect the eyes, but obscure detail. 
And I had come seeking clarity. 

Such filters would have blurred the bas-relief 
Of unexpected Deco angles, delightfully aesthetic; 
And dimmed my view of the derelict’s eyes, 
Glassy with drunkenness and resignation. 

I may not have spotted the random star, 
Confidently anonymous as she walks the Upper West. 
Or wondered at the bizarre bumps and whorls 
Adorning unfamiliar foodstuffs in Chinatown bins. 

The big and bold are easily seen: 
The waving, stomping parade up Fifth, 
The neon-blasting Times Square, 
Central Park’s swath of green. 

But in New York, structures create shadows, 
Enveloping the tapestry, the underbelly, the complex core. 
Buildings ache skyward toward the sun 
On their flanks, “God Bless America” faintly scripted in the dust.