Originally Written as a Course Assignment
September 12, 2018
Clutching orange railing
resisting the urge to shout,
to whisper, “I love you”
to the next person over,
to the person on the next shore
to the entire universe.
Leaning too recklessly forward,
possessions dangling in hand,
Jagged green froth below.
Suddenly everyone is your sibling,
Suddenly Manhattan is your doorstep.
Everyone fashionable, everyone cool,
Everyone here with someone or here alone and
No wonder you’ve fallen in love, there is so much,
A boat, a seagull, liberty’s false statue,
You’re resisting the urge to tip overboard, swim to her,
Press your hands against her face and kiss her nose,
Tell her she is trying but you know we should try harder.
Maybe you’ll think of so-and-so, that person in that coffee shop, whoever.
They would love this right? Romantic, we’ve decided the water is romantic.
Bit deadly if you ask me.
Everyone’s favorite color can be found here, the sun glints off every surface, every sound in line for exclusive access to our ear canals.
Take a moment to connect the humming at your feet to the movement of the ferry,
This is such an easy journey for the uninvolved, hell it’s free.
How we’ve ranked things, the drive to classify built into all our systems,
Told that a least favorite borough exists.
Can we give Staten Island a break? At least it is a borough.
We rank people too, prefer to say that New York is diverse, people of all walks and whatnot, but we know the ultra-rich would only ever take the ferry for a photoshoot.
I suppose I should get deep by now.
Write about how the ferry represents a false choice to leave,
Because we can never really divorce ourselves from this steel skyline.
Some live whole lives in relation to this once marshy strip.
There ain’t a casual way to say, “I used to live in New York.”
((or maybe there is and I’m dramatic))
But the depth of the water approaching Manhattan on the way back from Staten Island –
(let’s face it, we were always coming back) –
is actually really shallow, all the shipping ships have moved to Jersey.
So many have moved to Jersey, maybe all poems will be one day be about Jersey…
But for now, let yourself haunt New York without leaving a trace.
Wander the decks, the shimmering streets, fail to disguise your touristy-inclinations,
You will not contribute to the grand scheme of this metropolitan,
Even if you land your name on a building, even if your likeness is erected in the park, there will come a day when your being on this island (or this boat) will lack any connotation.
You will be forgotten, give or take a few years.
Someone else will take up the odd mantle of existence, will walk where you have walked, see what you have seen.
That’s a relief, right?
No pressure except to have a ferry good time while you’re around.