for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

mid-Manhattan (from memory for one shoot Sunday)

photo prompt by Scott Wyden

a sun tracing its autumn route
never seen here
no shadow falls from slants of light
columns of smoke
the weeping in tunnels
the grating of steel cogs

here only the dream of skies
on narrow slits a canopy propped up
by concrete, glass and steel
needles piercing the day moon
blinking at humans
dogs and cars–toys of King Kong

sunset grinds
a maddening ruckus:
cars rushing as if to escape
people shaken
along with a colony of ants
deadened by the rasp of wheels

blasting horns wheezing air brakes
a wailing ambulance
in a duet with a fire truck
and police cars
in a rush to save a kitten on a terrace
hanging by its paws

the swarm on sidewalks
darkens with dusk
a flowing mush of bodies wrapped
in thick armors of invisibility –
black coat, jacket, cape, cap, boots,
and square-toed shoes

here, no unhurried strides
heads don’t turn
lost in inner spaces
no one misses who gets snared
and stalls: the throng belches on
eyes riveted to warning lights

“Don’t Walk” the wound up toys
stop “Walk” and do
I am lost here
I shed my name I wonder
about the color of my hair
the hue of my skin

I have turned mute
“I’m sorry,” I lisp
as if I really am
sorry about a slice of sky
the undertow that pulls me
to surrender

to the winking stars

Copyright (c) by Alegria Imperial 2011

A poem written from memory prompted by a photo of Scott Wyden posted for One Shoot Sunday for an absolute challenge at One Stop Poetry, th inimitable gathering place for poets and artists. Check out the other poets’ take! Click on OSP on my blogroll.


May 29, 2011 - Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. You capture everything I abhor and abominate about cities–that loss of any hope of an identity without a cultivated oddness that is itself a kind of conformity. I love esp the finish, and the kitten–there are cogs in my poem too. They’re just *there* aren’t they?– so plain you can almost see them grinding,

    Comment by hedgewitch | May 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks again so much, Joy! Those years in New York encrypted heavily in my consciousness it seems so much so that each line I write about Manhattan seem to spring up as vividly as that moment when I saw it. Those “cogs”, yes indeed, they’re real but not as looming in other cities like here in Vancouver as they are in NY. “Abominable”, yes, but also “life-giving” in an inimitable way. The energy and synergy of that city really ‘yanks’ from your spirit the most of who you are or can be. Thank you so much again and again!

      Comment by alee9 | May 30, 2011 | Reply

  2. “on narrow slits a canopy propped up
    by concrete, glass and steel”

    Loved the picture these lines made…

    Comment by wolfsrosebud | May 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Yes, aren’t they? Thanks for loving those lines!

      Comment by alee9 | May 30, 2011 | Reply

  3. love all the textures of the city…all the noise and crush of bodies…you captured that well…to me that is just more of the richness of it…could not be there forever but…i like my tastes…

    Comment by brian | May 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks again. Brian! Thanks for loving how I captured it. I also love how we share a deep love for the textures of cities!

      Comment by alee9 | May 30, 2011 | Reply

  4. all of those multi textures ~layering ~ teeming ~ so much happening ~ cats rescued ~ automatons ~ wound up toys
    really well captured and a great take ~ Lib @Libithina

    Comment by libithina | May 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Libithina! Thanks for a great comment!

      Comment by alee9 | May 30, 2011 | Reply

  5. Agree with previous comments and wish to add that I enjoy reading your work each week. What struck me most about your poem was when you followed up using the word “here.” It creates a great sense of immediacy that works extremely well with the subject matter and imagery 🙂

    Comment by dustus | May 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks again, Adam! Have I thanked you enough for OSP? These Sunday challenges and the OSW space have changed me as an aspiring poet–I feel so new so different in a sense of being quite who I had hoped to be! Thanks for your wonderful critique!

      Comment by alee9 | May 30, 2011 | Reply

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