Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


To A New Dawning

For our New York Cities

From sun’s first shine, we walk all day
through a dream surreal, our minds wander
a new world from inside windowsills.

We go to bed half asleep,
eyes defiant for the crave of news feed,
quenching our dread on the bad blood of blue light
not sent from the moon.

We are devastate-aching,
this can’t be happening,
a nation stationed inside the nightmare
of a leader unfit for awakening.

We grieve in solitary solidarity
for our country, our New York cities; their subways
riding ghosted through the choking channels of our lungs—
those throats that have known
I can’t breathe
far before our collective chests could not.

We grieve for every building of our boroughs,
from section eight to the unfinished skyscraper’s crane.
Buildings busting with bodies or abandoned by them:
bodies that dance, bodies that sleep,
bodies that virtual meet, eat and drink.
Bodies that cease.

We grieve the gravity
of having to die alone
in a city built on never having to be.

And though our bridges are orphaned arches
left to hold up the sky’s condolences,
they still do connect us.

They still do connect us.

Connect us,
to the cabin fever daughters
watching over high fevered grandfathers.
Connect us to the warrior first responders,
nurses and exhausted doctors,
the recovering sick finally taking off ventilators.

Connect us,
to the maskless, the homeless,
the hopeless, the jobless,
our locals: bars, bodegas and bath houses,
our silent Brooklyn streets empty as ancient desert streams
holding only the echoes of ambulance screams.

Connect us,
to the cherry blossoms standing guard in full blush
while cops bloom ribbons of yellow tape at their gates.

Us, connected
by airborne whispers between walkups,
of missed rhythm, longing for the public pull
of prior swagger,

us, connected
by the daydream of lawless rush hour taxis
rubbing up against each other’s paint,
kissing the ears of each other’s rearviews,

us, yearning
for the crowded irritants
of sweltering avenues
budding with beech trees and brisk walkers.

Us, missing
the middle fingers of strangers,
the playlists of basketball courts
and schoolyard sabotage,
the lights bright over Broadway,
lights low in the Bowery,
lights out at The Chelsea
where Sid did in Nancy.

Us, singing
love poems to neighbors over balconies,
from the soapbox of apartment steps,
a Cyrano of stoops.
Connected by the density of front doors,
the clanging of steam hammer pipes
running through our floors
like the floating notes of festival encores.

Us, dreaming,
still dreamers,
for every future hand
we’ll shake, dap and hold

O, how we will hold you

our eyes lifting from the drift,
breaking open, free
to a new dawning—
wake up! See!—
how we hold you, New York cities,
how we hold you, never letting go.

Credit


Used with permission of the author.

Author


Amber Tamblyn

Amber Tamblyn is the author of Dark Sparkler (Harper Collins, 2015). She has been an actress since the age of nine and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Date Published: 2020-04-28

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/new-dawning