A poem about New York City

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Mom with Bob on the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty.

Here’s a poem I wrote awhile ago. Never had an ending. Now I do.

 

A Farmer Lost in Time Square

A farmer and his family load up the sky-blue Chevy.

It’s 1975 and they’re heading straight east to NYC.

The farmer ties a wooden box to the roof with twine.

It’s filled with family keepsakes for his sister on Long Island.

Proud of the box and his paint job: silver and hand-lettered,

pronouncing, “The Meylors of Marcus.” His kids protest.

But I want people to know where we’re from, he explains.

They cross Iowa-Illinois-Indiana-Ohio-Pennsylvania-New Jersey.

Enter Lincoln Tunnel. Drop out the other end—upside down.

Manhattan-Brooklyn-Manhattan again. Macy’s. Time Square.

A New York cop gawks at the silver box, blows his whistle:

Yooz got balls, hayseed! But I’ll get yooz turned around.

He clears a parking spot and the family walks up Broadway.

I can’t tell which way’s North, the farmer says aloud to no one.

Time Square reeks of manure. No glitter. No Big Apple yet.

Trash piled high as an elephant’s eye. The farmer is not impressed.

Soon they troop back to the car to find the Statue of Liberty.

They empty the box on Long Island, visit awhile, head for home.

In years to come the farmer shows vacation slides from 1975:

Time Square-Battery Park-Jones Beach-Cooperstown-Niagara Falls.

And the silver box will become part of family lore,

a story that will grow old with the children into gray middle age.

And the mildewed box will settle among milkweeds behind a corn crib.

And the farmer will rise up before dawn one winter, facing into the North wind.

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11 thoughts on “A poem about New York City

  1. Wow, Julia, what a stretch that must have been. 1975, I was living there at the time.
    With this, and the piece about the market, it seems as if you have been visiting my memory bank! 🙂

    Lea

  2. I don’t know. For me it is finished with that reference to the north wind. A wonderful memory. I’ve been thinking lately how my children and grandchildren will never know the wisdom of growing up on the farm and the prairie. I wonder if someday one of their children will write about direct touch mind transfer or some such thing. I hope they will be part of cleaning up the industrial mess we have left them. I put that hope in a silver box.

  3. I remember the slide of Mike sitting right next to some woman. She is looking into the camera and we always gave Mike the business about her being his girlfriend! I still remember riding horses for the first time.

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