New York Love Song

by Lydia Tomkiw

(Part 1-Lower East Side)


Here I am again, doubled over, I'm here, pretending I know what
I'm doing.
Here again, doubled over in Manhattan dreaming of confetti being
For every day is a party, or so I dream; I am dreaming in
Here I am in Manhattan, doubled over, dreaming of pretending I
know what I'm doing in Manhattan.
It is grand.

Maybe I should live here, maybe I should know things-
Instead, I hide a blueprint of the streets in my purse.
There is no one here to save me. I must save myself.
I must not get drunk, not on red wine, not on cheap champagne,
Not on the nauseating smell of ghetto palms or burnt pretzels;
I must not get drunk on the street
Vendor's incessant, dead-pan barking of
"Good for cats-made in Poland" and
I must try hard not to look at what he's selling.
I must be able to walk down šrd street straight and
Make friends with Hell's Angels-
I must be able to make sense of the oriental deli owners' chatter-
They throw me. I must be able to buy flowers, to remember
Where I bought my lottery ticket,
What corner I was grabbed by the shoulders by a homeless
And kissed square on the lips.
I must not get drunk. Maybe I should know things-
Maybe I should live here.
I know I should love here.

Near sun-down: 6th street,
Glass chips strung up on a fire escape makes
Mirror ball effect: this city is a cotillion
Where I meet you and meet you and meet you
And we're together forever and ever, again tor the very hrst time.
Give me this forever, give me this and
Summer forever, or at least give me
The memory forever of being8
On a roof at night, reclining,
My face facing the heavenly heavens,
Remembering the desperate ride back into Manhattan
In a renegade limo, the city gleaming in front of us like
Some obscene neon fishing lure; and then
Finally flailing into sleep on a chaise longue while
Mobile discos cruised by, blasting Hispanic polkas;
I want to dance; I want to sleep. I want to dance and sleep,
While reclining in my sweat, in the Alphabet Street slumber
hallucination bed
Floating into the most delicious, panoramic
Dreams of things I can't explain
Because words for them haven't been invented yet
In any language, I bet.
When I wake up, it's life as unusual.
Everything is embracing me more than I expected.
I like it. It is nice.
I don't know how to make it stay...

Last updated February 23, 2023