12th May 2017
When it comes to New York City, pictures speak louder than words. Which doesn't stop me from trying to throw a few words together as I stand waiting for the Q train. About the sparrow chirping from the inside the plastic O on a McDonald's sign; about the tiny sapling sprouting from a decomposing log beside the train tracks. My instinct is to cobble these visions into lines of poetry.
Here I am scrawling lines across a pad as the Q train careens and lurches within its subterranean tunnels. And then when I glance up, I am fixed by the gaze of an hispanic baby. Suddenly all my literary efforts lack all conviction. It is the truth of that baby's unblinking black eyes that slays me.
On the way to a meeting in a tea room, I pass a church that was once surrounded by fields and lines of horse-drawn carriages, a hard-won temple to the Christian god. But time has moved on, and the once impossibly high steeple is now dwarfed by odes instead to the god of finance.
All sentiment gets deflected in these moments of urban epiphany: a tree grows in Brooklyn; a caged bird sings. A baby appears trailing clouds of glory. A church, vexed now to nightmare, slouches towards its final stoney sleep.