Thursday, June 4, 2009

In My Own Words

I wrote this yesterday.

I could never live in Manhattan
Because my sweat doesn’t smell as sweet;
The humid air of Nashville holds the whisper
Of hackberries and herons, and a slow-moving
River stuck in the bottom of a basin.

I could never live in Manhattan
Stacked on top of other immigrants,
Their breath as my breath, their garbage
On my corner, their urine in my subway.
Andrew Jackson haunts my streets instead,
His stubborn ghost the son-of-a-bitch
Who moved the Cherokees out but loved his wife
To a fault, lingering in modern shades around Union
And 4th in barristers in blue and gray and black.

I could never live in Manhattan
And try to keep up with the clock.
The central time zone fits me well, seemingly slower
And with greater pause, the city sighs where
That northern island stutters, lurches, and runs
Toward its night. Even in the shadow
Of Nashville’s ancient downtown, I stroll
And languor toward the afternoon on swept sidewalks
And the rumor of Cherry Street and the Utopia Hotel.

I could never live in Manhattan
Because of the soul and the sway of the South.
Mellifluous accents sing stories in the air
Of our spacious green, echoing into the valley
With the dusting of pollen and pine.
I bite the Big Apple with hesitation,
Knowing I’ll stay only a short while before longing
For the comforts of home, the inevitable
Return to a place unfettered by quickness,
Relaxed in the grip of the summer sun.

1 comment:

Char said...

love this and I think you captured what I love about being in the south too - the slower pace, the acceptance of weird relatives and the proximity to beautiful things.