Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
We all know New York is struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. All five boroughs. New Jersey too. But we also all know what a resilient city it is. One only has to remember September 11th.
My niece Rachel visited us when we lived in Brooklyn. During her senior year of high school, she wrote this poem. I was just so impressed by her insight and perception. She was only 14 years old when she came, but the memory held on so vividly.
She is now a freshman in college, studying journalism. I’ve been saving this poem for the right time to post. Figured now is it. Just like Sinatra says, “Come on, Come through, New York, New York, New York.”
The Sole of New York, New York
By Rachel Johnston
The sun shines above the smog,
illuminating life, language, and love
for this city’s bright eyes.
New shoes become old and worn here
within a mere morning of travel.
They’re sore, bruised, dirty,
but singing a Sinatra tune.
They smile as they conquer
miles of concrete, of storefronts,
of Main Street, of Wall Street.
They look to the sky.
Feed us, they say.
They stumble down stairs
that reveal a dark underworld.
Sparks, rats, bustling bodies,
the homeless and the senseless.
They stumble up stairs
that break through to daylight.
Toes scuffed and laces soggy,
the shoes smile still
just now with broken teeth.
This time, they peer down
at tiny taxis and tacky tourists.
They are not afraid of heights;
they are indestructible, unstoppable.
They are on top of the world.
These soles are experienced,
enlightened, musically inclined,
bold, logical, beautiful, free,
native to city life.
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