Starless Night

New York stands at the crossroads of the world,
   ever reveling in its own frenzy,
   ever frenzied by its own reveling.

The corners of the Earth collide in chaos
   each time tourists skitter like rats across Times Square
   while natives lose time to the crowds,
   time they ration like rain in the desert—
   that is, at times hoarded, but at times
   left like refuse along the street in heaps.

Here, the waves of cultures crash and mix
   rending the guiding ebbs and swells of traditions’ tides
   and offering instead a motley tumult
   of meaning scavenged from some
   mangled story, maybe new, maybe not.

Against a backdrop of sultry sirens,
   ever lulling a fresh victim
   or else announcing one’s demise,
   the players pick their parts
   from scripts unseen, ephemeral,
   schizoid mirages splintered across
   eight million minds, and far fewer souls.

There are no stars tonight above,
   they’ve been drowned all by the stars below,
   and so the city drifts sleeplessly along,
   twitching in fearful hope
   at each airplane or firefly
   that hints to condemn or justify
   the wonders in New York City.

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