New York Is Crying

By Stevenson, Anne | Michigan Quarterly Review, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview
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New York Is Crying

Stevenson, Anne, Michigan Quarterly Review

New York is crying. I didn't hear screaming, just dead, dark silence.

Tyrone Dux, New York policeman, quoted in The Observer (London), 16 September 2001

Halfmast New York is crying for her children.

Her firemen, her policemen, her bagwomen,

Her smart investment analysts, her crooks,

Her execuwives in Gucci scarves and pants-suits,

Her TV chatterers and glossy-skinned presenters,

Her cleaners, waitresses, and fast food cooks,

Her manicured secretaries and stubby-fingered punters--

Crying because they didn't die or scream.

Is that Walt Whitman? Yes, but he is crying.

Hart Crane, in tears, is haunting Brooklyn Bridge.

Wystan, Dr. Williams, mr cummings,

Miss Moore, Miss Bishop, look, they have come flying

In clouds of etymology, but crying.

Even John Astor and Henry Frick are trying,

Under the brassy marble of their monuments,

To care about the people who are dying.

Old Teddy Roosevelt on your moral horse,

What bracing words can dignify such crying?

But now a Mayor with a bedside manner,

And now a President in shining armor

Weep in the lens light of a billion eyes.

They want the world to notice they are crying.

Tears shall be sown in steel like dragon's teeth,

A crop of planes will pulverize the skies

While Terrorists in terror cringe beneath.

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