I WANTED TO BE A NEW YORK LOVE POEM
To the woman getting off the train who offered to throw
away my browning banana peel. To these men posing
for photos with their cat on the beach. To Nancy screaming
at Coney’s seagulls: Today I am twenty-four and you don’t care.
To the seagulls who don’t care staring religious into January
winds. To the strangers and strangers and strangers still
catching Jillian as she passes out on the 77th Street station stairs.
Or again on the Brooklyn Bridge. Again in that forever hallway
connecting the 7 to the G in Queens. To the woman having trouble
modulating her voice on the Staten Island Ferry when she sees
the backlit statue: This is my America, Randall. I’m not going
back to Atlanta. Even to the person whispering I’m sorry
I’m sorry I’m sorry so softly to the rest of us as he jerks himself
off in the corner of this subway car. To the grace of his embarrassed
turning away. To everyone. I wanted to be a love poem to everyone
but I couldn’t. There was all this hardness. There were cops breaking
broomsticks in Abner Louima. They wanted us to forget. Hoped
we’d move away. Forget if Eric Garner sold loose cigarettes
or played center for the Nets. I spent the morning visiting a friend
in Rikers Island. Visited mostly its indifferent way of turning a day
into early evening with nothing to show for it but the waiting.
They broke his leg before they put him here. They already forgot.
They thought we’d be happy being love poems. We still might be
if we hold space for the way this love sharpens like a bottle
in a bar fight. I hold it firmly but gently like a cat on a beach.
The way you would a stranger falling back into you on the stairs.
None of us are going back, Randall. You hear me. None of us.
ABOUT THE POET
Robert Lynn is writer and attorney from Fauquier County, VA. He is currently an MFA student in poetry at New York University. His poems have been featured or are forthcoming in American Literary Review, Antioch Review, Blackbird, New Ohio Review, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn.
ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.