Union Square

With the man I love who loves me not,
I walked in the street-lamps’ flare;
We watched the world go home that night
In a flood through Union Square.
I leaned to catch the words he said
That were light as a snowflake falling;
Ah well that he never leaned to hear
The words my heart was calling.
And on we walked and on we walked
Past the fiery lights of the picture shows —
Where the girls with thirsty eyes go by
On the errand each man knows.
And on we walked and on we walked,
At the door at last we said good-bye;
I knew by his smile he had not heard
My heart’s unuttered cry.
With the man I love who loves me not
I walked in the street-lamps’ flare —
But oh, the girls who ask for love
In the lights of Union Square.

Song of the Moon by Claude McKay

The moonlight breaks upon the city’s domes,
And falls along cemented steel and stone,
Upon the grayness of a million homes,
Lugubrious in unchanging monotone.
Upon the clothes behind the tenement,
That hang like ghosts suspended from the lines,
Linking each flat to each indifferent,
Incongruous and strange the moonlight shines.

There is no magic from your presence here,
So, moon, sad moon, tuck up your trailing robe,
Whose silver seems antique and so severe
Against the glow of one electric globe.

Go spill your beauty on the laughing faces
Of happy flowers that bloom a thousand hues,
Waiting on tiptoe in the wilding spaces,
To drink your wine mixed with sweet drafts of dews.

Worked Late on a Tuesday Night

Worked Late on a Tuesday Night

By: Deborah Garrison

Midtown is blasted out and silent,
drained of the crowd and its doggy day.
I trample the scraps of deli lunches
some ate outdoors as they stared dumbly
or hooted at us career girls—the haggard
beauties, the vivid can-dos, open raincoats aflap
in the March wind as we crossed to and fro
in front of the Public Library.

Never thought you’d be one of them,
did you, little Lady?
Little Miss Phi Beta Kappa,
with your closetful of pleated
skirts, twenty-nine till death do us
part! Don’t you see?
The good schoolgirl turns thirty,
forty, singing the song of time management
all day long, lugging the briefcase

home. So at 10:00 PM
you’re standing here
with your hand in the air,
cold but too stubborn to reach
into your pocket for a glove, cursing
the freezing rain as though it were
your difficulty. It’s pathetic,
and nobody’s fault but
your own. Now

the tears,
down into the collar.
Cabs, cabs, but none for hire.
I haven’t had dinner; I’m not half
of what I meant to be.
Among other things, the mother
of three. Too tired, tonight,
to seduce the father.

“From War” by C.K. Williams

Fall’s first freshnesss, strange: the season’s ceaseless wheel,

starlings starting south, the annealed leaves ready to release,

yet still those columns of nothingness rise from their own ruins,

their twisted carcasses of steel and rise still fume, and still,

one by one, tacked up on walls by hopeful lovers, husbands, wives,

the absent faces wait, already tattering, fading, going out.

These things that happen in the particle of time we have to be alive,

these violations which almost more than altar, ark, or mosque embody sanctity by

enacting sanctity so precisely sanctity’s desecration.

These voices of bereavement asking of us what isn’t to be given.

These suddenly smudged images of consonance and peace.

These fearful burdens to borne: complicity, contrition, grief.

Yūgen – 幽玄

Often times when walking through Manhattan, you feel small, regardless of whether you’re 6’7″ or 4’8″, the mere size and dimensions of the skyscrapers completely overwhelm you as you realize that you are insignificant compared to these man-made giants as well as insignificant in the grand scheme of society and life and other greater functions. Large beautiful buildings such as the Empire State, the Freedom Tower, even the Colosseum in Rome or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai can instill this feeling of wonder and awe. Some works that I’ve seen by Mark Rothko also do this, as some of his works consist of large canvases containing a few solid colors and nothing more. The word that comes to mind does not exist in English, but the Japanese do have a term for it: 幽玄 (Yūgen), meaning “an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words”.