they say that you stay in New York until she becomes so full of ghosts that you can't turn the corner without flipping back a few chapters.
they say that you stay in New York until she drives you away like a starving dog from a trash can.
you walk down a street a thousand times but find it just different enough to get lost.
the memories of a thousand strangers after you, piled on top of yours,
you search like a departing party guest for your coat under a thousand other
coats on a bed
in a cramped apartment that you did not realize you were memorizing
until you did.
you find yourself pining for an exact city that no longer exists.
New York and i had a summer camp romance, it did not end well.
i have always said that she was made for leaving, no one stays too long. all my friends
are forest kids, itching for corn fields, they are horses
in Central Park twitching with traffic, they are smoking in front of a bar to try to wash the taste
of pond water from their mouths. we fantasize that we own this place but we
are tumbling in her spin cycle. we are damp
and drying within her. New York is easy
to get lost inside.
you ask for directions
"can you tell me how to get back to who i was?"
"take the C train, it's a long ride but the A is down and sometimes
you have no choice but to go local."
my therapist tells me that i am addicted to impulses, addicted to people and
places. addicted to whirlpools but now i am learning
to read the Hudson river inside of me. New York
was the first person to make me realize that you can stay in a place meant for leaving, just
don't be surprised when she doesn't kiss your hand on the way out,
she makes you leave your key,
she asks you to take your toothbrush. take your cat,
get the fuck out of here.
i think New York is breaking up with me. i think i made her,
appreciated the stillness in her soft nights, loved her rivers until i had to get out and found
that the water freezes on my skin. i fight
with New York but always open the door again, wander her streets
again, catch a glimpse of my sleeve at the bottom of the coats.
i always said that New York was made for leaving, i didn't realize that she might make me
too, i think New York is breaking up with me but i just
re-signed the lease, maybe i can
take the C train, maybe we'll both
change our minds by the time
the key reaches the lock.