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MANHATTAN FAREWELL (1967)

You'll never know how great it felt
to turn around in the back seat
of an old beat-up Ford
and watch the Manhattan skyline
gradually being consumed
by its own eternal smog.
So long, New York,
and goodbye to your man-made empire
of concrete and steel
looming so high and mighty
over the faded redbrick tenements
and brownstone dwellings of the slums,
all bunched together in steamy little ghettos,
all the poorboy neighborhoods
housing millions of faces ---
the Leroy Browns
the Carlos Almeidas
the Benny Abelmans
the Giovanni Rosettis ---
all the poverty-stricken lower class faces,
some struggling to get by each day,
the rest of them sitting on hard stone stoops
and guzzling brew in the noonday sunlight.
They shout obscenities at pauper kids
playing stickball
and dodging sports cars
in littered streets
near dark alleys filled
with multitudes of trash cans,
hungry cats,
hungrier rats,
and linked by streams of Monday morning wash
hanging on the infinite complex
of tenement clothesline.

So long, New York,
sorry I lost the faith.

Copyright 1967 Sequoya
Copyright Renewed 1995

- from "Manhattan Farewell and Other Joys,"
an unpublished collection of poems Copyright 2011 James D. Young


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The following comments are for "MANHATTAN FAREWELL"
by JamesYoung

New York
Great poem, Jim! Sad but such a contrast to hype about New York.
Kudos,
Sandra

( Posted by: sandra [Member] On: August 3, 2011 )

I LOVE NY
Of course, I never lived there. Spent all my time there looking waaaay UP! Had a blast. Sang a nitty gritty western song in an impromptu piano bar ... was amazed at the architecture at Ellis Island because of it's Germanic overtones. Loved the museums and galleries ... food was ... oh .. so so but part of the eat cheap experience ...

Biggest surprise was the glass depictions of the seven wonders of the world in the Empire State building's first floor. Nobody told me they were there! Gorgeous but impossible to photograph well.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: August 4, 2011 )

Come to Jersey, Jim!
Come on over to New Jersey Jim...don't be wary...those Jersey Shore people don't really live here...the're imported from N.Y.!

As for the housewives...they were cloned just for laughs on the show...they don't REALLY exist!

Great piece!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: August 4, 2011 )

Jersey Housewives :)
One of the most fantastic views in our great nation, and certainly of the New York City skyline, occurs at sunset just off of the GW Bridge from Joisey, when the sunset is at its peak of redness into the sunset. I have tried to capture it many times, but the traffic is always too madening, so the world will never see what I see in those brief few minutes.

As for the Jersey housewifes, I must confess they are very much real, and they are everywhere down the coast, if you have not met any, they are not very much interested in you. LOL And nearly all of them are real Jersey girls, not New Yawkers. LOL

( Posted by: veebdosa [Member] On: August 4, 2011 )

Picture Postcard
Thanks for your comments (and invites - LOL). This was the the "angry Young man" loudmouth view and cityscape snapshot as it existed back in 1967. A lot has changed since then - some for the better, some for the worse. When I penned [i]Rerun[i/] a few years ago, I provided a much kinder view of a modern NYC. Mebbe I've mellowed.

Sandra: There's a lotta "green stamps" behind the recent hype, but I'm far more impressed with those Pennsylvania Dutch country ads on TV. And Vancouver!!!

Pen: Never having been a tourist here, I didn't know about the Empire State Building's 7 Wonders glass murals. (And if you can believe this, I was never anywhere above the lobby of the WTC in my life.) I can also show ya where to find a great hot dog special (2) with toppings and a smoothie drink in Manhattan for under 4 bucks. True!

Bea: During the days of "white flight" back in the '70s, those folks wound up everywhere! I'm told kids in Florida design their sand castles as Bronx apartment buildings...:)

Veebdosa: I'm sure the view of the GW Bridge at sunset is stunning. I'm also sure that cussin' commuters stuck in traffic on the bridge don't give a flyin' hoot, either. LOL. Glad you have had the calmer, aesthetic POV.

My fave lawyer joke (also in the novel above): Californians have more attorneys while New Jersey has more toxic waste dumps. WHY?

NJ had 1st choice. - Jim

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: August 5, 2011 )





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