those brief spring days

those brief spring days
my dad showed me NY
a place alive enough to eat you whole
conversation from complete strangers
engaged in things we call chatter
more talking than you’ve done the rest of those 16 years
huddled up in the shell of your bedroom.

This is the land of the Sunday crossword puzzle
The Living Arts section
And what a show it is.

The air is different here
And people edging up against the police barricades
To get a look at the possible bomb.

If it’s gonna explode, I wanna know what it is
Look this god in its face
Got enough chutzpah for 2 and a half million.
No little town where dining out is Chinese food one Sunday a month
Where you can see the 3 other Jews you know and pretend
what a small world it is.
Damn right its small.
Goldfish, grave-knowing small
Cemetery men know ya well enough to bring your baseball glove home
Those secret thoughts not just mundane adolescence
Freakish fires
Charring your soul.

No, this NY has no warm grass-cutting June days,
No soccer halftimes with cut-up oranges Mrs. DiCienzo brings,
But no one knows you and they all know you:
Liver of life
What else is this breath for but to dream?
Dream and shout and scream and put on a show.