Thoughtful Revolution

Poetry Break: My City

Apologies in advance.  I wrote this for an assignment requring the use of all five senses as descriptors. This is very much a rough draft, and I already know I need to revamp the fourth stanza in a major way… eh, whatever, here goes, constructive criticism welcome.

My City

smells like asphalt and pupusas
and burning rubber and sidewalk pizza
and body odor and sunscreen and cannabis
and the dust that clings to your toes,
well-trod and soft, after a stroll on the Mall

and my city tastes of half-smokes drenched in chili,
the bun soggy with the force of it, and grainy American gelato
and overpriced panini and sweat and blood and cupcakes
and hot air and ideology and the rich fondue of a melting pot
inexperienced, still learning how to blend

and my city sounds like a trumpet mourning
at Metro Center station and the clink of money
and demagogues and swearwords and lost seagulls
wandering in from the Chesapeake,
and the open mic poetry slam on 14th Street, and
the universal language of tourists, and anger and hatred,
and sweet kisses in cherry blossom season

and my city sings with the businessman
complaining that his bubble’s popped and the wrinkled activist
and the prophet scribbling backwards at the Old Post Office,
clutching her berry-tipped fingers, and the old guy selling ice cream,
and the girl with purple hair and Das Kapital, and the amateur rapper,
and the Peruvian poet by way of New Haven,
and the intern, and the cop, and the nurse paid a pittance,
and the lanky Plato on the subway train
sculpting answers from the voice of the operator

and my city knows the Congress back to front
and foams at the mouth in election season,
but come Saturday night, my city
sparks like a bonfire, sensuous,
dangerous, exquisite, ready to party.


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