All posts tagged: New York City

Textures of New York

Cities are very much defined by the relationship I have with the people who inhabit it. The last time I was in New York, it felt like a separate entity being explored by many of us together. It felt like an attempt to pause time and remember, full of tension, detachment and anxiety. This time New York felt like a lazy friend. The kind who hustles around you at its own pace, full of its own thoughts and ideas, and occasionally checking in to see what’s going on. Only because it is comfortable, only because you have been accepted – only then you are unnoticed. My favourite memory this trip, strangely enough, was the night we tiredly climbed into a cab for an easier ride home. It was the first time my body physically realized the way New York didn’t care for traffic lines. It was a long ride: full of road closures, re-routing through small streets. But I remember my self in that journey very clearly. Maybe there was something about the blur of cityscapes …

On writing about New York

When I set out for New York I knew I was going to write a series of poems about the city, or rather, an idea of a city incredibly present in all pop culture and social media psyche. An idea I would be encountering in concrete (quite literally) for the first time meant a thousand possible entry points through which I could begin writing.  I wondered if New York would live up to its hype. Admittedly, I was somewhat underwhelmed. Having known the bustling cities of Singapore, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, New Delhi and many others besides, the words usually used to frame New York were easily out-defined in any of the other cities. Energy? Culture? Sophistication? Atmosphere? Nightlife? Skyline? People? There are far greater cities that display these qualities in an even more overwhelming sense. So how did I proceed with my words, and why did I end up writing a six poem series? This is what I think: The allure of a city is its ability to harness whatever one chooses to …

New York: A Portrait [6]

the city is quiet now, worn out from carving the skyline out of a long-exposure stream of light; buildings slumbering at angles unnatural create cricks in the neck and a sharp burning sensation in the heart – the click of central heating in a tiny box overlooking the knees. Last night I walked the high line, tracking deep rumbling on its old trajectories and found that above the city rises a tunnel of parallel ribs. Staring at the ceiling of a heart when all along it was an expanse beyond ourselves we were aspiring to, bitter grief awash with gratitude at the pale trajectory of hope we thought punctured the dark but can only hold it from caving in. This city sits in parentheses wondering what a start is, and what an end could be. What (but) unnatural clicks in a long exposed streak of light are we.     ==== *note: this is the last in a series of six poems written in and about New York. photos taken by jasmine, and the amazing Rachelle …

New York: A Portrait [5]

between flaking confetti flash heeled toes directing attention to a dull ache rounded and tight, exerting its presence by strumming nerve endings that tendril from the calf up to the center of my chest, a beat syncopated to the armored earth slapping the flat of my feet quietly humming ‘I held it all’ threaded between the bigness of extravagant sound it is hard to imagine two songs reconciled to an opinion. But all traces a lined circle in the ground meeting itself after running long enough for we are ever going back to beginnings in dust waves. ‘and I hold it still’ she says, and for a moment my feet read a synesthetic history of grief and laughter. we are sounds colored in cascad ing quiet remembrance and the earth is drinking our story. ==== *note: this is the fifth in a series of six poems written in and about New York. all photos taken by the amazing Rachelle Tai

New York: A Portrait [3]

we have sat on walls suspended above black text in white boxes explaining who what when and why for where is of little relevance since we are (w)here amongst the walkers, beneath eyelash-ed layers of encrusted time is a quiet sight to still a surrealist eye and prompt spiraling exhalations of desire for possession is achieved only when the view is accepted as larger than the perspective allows you are a triptych of primary colors streaking at geometric we’s to disturb a languishing natural repose acquired through reflecting in a mirror. We are a gallery built in looks themed ‘a moment’s notice.’ ===== *note: this is the third in a series of six poems written in and about New York. all photos taken by the amazing Rachelle Tai