Coming to America

Photo Credit: Isaac Talbert, Fresh Exposure Images

I come to town inside a ship of steel,

with all the belch of smoke and stench

and people pushing at my back in fear,

with officers in coats and New York frowns.

I step inside a sea of brown and black,

by stretching towers tall with steel

and grey and grim. The man who rents

to me my flat is made of coal, and frowns—

an everlasting stream of words that make me blush.

Someone inside the clouds has turned a spicket

and the skies reflect my grief. A shower of tears

for me.

I work inside a factory. By beams of steel.

With men who smoke their small, white sticks

and yell at me in sounds I cannot understand.

I live inside a world of brown and black,

and walk away from job to climbing stairs of steel,

grey and grim—and fall into my sheets.

My flat is black like coal; it drowns

the everlasting stream of rusty brown that grows

from all the dripping down the wall. A spicket

some man above can never stop. It drips like gloom

to me.

I climb my way up on my roof. Gripping steel,

looking out at all the belch and smoke and sounds,

the people rushing by, going for home— I understand.

The setting sun covers up the view in black.

I cannot see the towers tall with steel,

and grey and grim, but they are there. Morning comes

and with it scares away the blackened coal dust

lying on New York. The sun is climbing up—a blush

of pink that spreads across sky, and turns a spicket

of light to wash my grief. A splash of bright

for me.

I go downtown inside a cart of steel,

with all the sound and clank and stench

and people speaking things I partly know;

officers in tight-lipped new York silence:

a swirl of teeming, varied brown and black.

I choose I will not look at the towers tall with steel,

and grey and grim, though they are there—morning comes

and I will go to factory, but now it will not drown

the everlasting stream of multi-country noise.

Someone above has opened up a window—

a flash of red, a wave of white, a field of stars

for me.


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