Academic journal article Field

Inside

Academic journal article Field

Inside

Article excerpt

The best way to get to know a city is to walk it. I have New York

often and Grand Rapids, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, this is a list,

Chicago is on the list, Detroit is hard to cross on foot and not feel

one needs to feel impervious to economic ruin, DC and Sarajevo

before the war, when everyone I met was proud that Muslims

and Christians got along so well and drank warm beer ecumenically.

Then I came back decades later to shrapnel in the wall

I wanted to kiss L against but thought she had a boyfriend

until she kissed me a block later with both her lips

and hips against a different wall that's shredded now

like a wind full of bayonets turned it to elegy.

The door I knocked on for L was answered by a man with a beautiful

shrug,

at least the ugly apartments painted whatever yellow or lime green

they happened to have at the time died too, the river survived,

it seemed to remember me or was just so accustomed to bodies

that it greeted my hand out of habit, I crossed and crossed

and walked up a mountain snipers had loved to send out their

zeroes

from, people were eating, talking, taking pictures, pointing, I

admired

the simplicity and sincerity of their motions and smoked the one

cigarette

I smoked that year in a religious ceremony meant to extract

a little bit of my life and feather it into the air, the atomically

wispy equivalent of placing a rock on a gravestone to prove I was

there. …

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