Monday, June 3, 2013

New York Trilogy: Au Revoir Empire State

So...Every so often, I enjoy writing a poem, especially for a special occasion. Here are 3 I penned to say good-bye to New York City, graduate school, and Long Island, in that order.


Leaving New York:

New York,
I have been leaving you since I arrived

Don’t take it personally,
but now I’m really going.

No more afternoons in the park
Evenings in the Village
Midnight taxi rides
or museum expeditions.

We had a good run
we even tried a commuter relationship.

It’s time to admit
we weren’t right for each other
we come from different worlds.

It’s not you, it’s me.
Or maybe it’s you.
Dirty, unrelenting, expensive
with a smelly underbelly.
Offering hope
Only to snatch it away.

I just can’t do this anymore.

I hope we can still be friends.

Notes Accumulated Over Time (Graduate School Year by Year)

Prelude: Letter of Acceptance
Thank god!
Someone wants me after all.
I’m going to be an Academic!
I’m going to live on books and
Important Conversations!
They are paying me to be a

1st year:

Pleasure & pain intertwine

Easy camaraderie
Important Conversations
Beer & blowhards

Inevitable housing issues
Inevitable Foucault

So grateful to be here.

2nd year:

I’m so over them
I’m ready for the next thing
next year
next challenge
next next next please!

That damned Foucault is still following me

I had to take out loans;
What they pay is a pittance

At least teaching is less boring
than TAing.

3rd year:

Shouldn’t reading all day long
be more fun than this?

I’ve developed a permanent twitch in my hand
from typing notes


What a mess

Then: So…what’s your dissertation going to be about?

4th year:

Research more:

From out the miasma
an Idea emerges

Careful, they say: you’ll have to live with this one for the next ten years.

Write a proposal:
Immediately trash it.
Start the first chapter.
Move on.

Interlude: Summer work study

What am I doing?
How many hours?
How do I log them?
When do I find the time for my work?
Whose idea was this anyway?

5th year:
A recipe:

First years don’t know who you are.
They look so little.

And hopeful.

6th year:

Edit edit edit
edit edit edit edit

Frantically apply for jobs

Set the date.

Edit edit edit edit

Defense: Speak. Answer questions.
This is it?

Congratulations! You’re a doctor.
I’m a what?
Aren’t you so relieved?

I need a job

The Long Good-bye

Long and blue and green
Sprinkled with turquoise
pools and long
ribbons of congested highway.
seen from above
a lobster claw
a whale

The first thing I noticed
were the trees
canopied above
bursting flowers
water blue sky
beach access
quiet neighborhoods
--the opposite of Brooklyn

upon closer inspection—
there are no sidewalks
food and gas and heat
and housing and everything
costs. so. much.
summer traffic is murder:
2 hours in the car
to go to the Hamptons—
it’s just stores.
outsiders don’t live here;
we merely survive.

How will I remember it?
This place with
good pizza
ocean breezes
views of Connecticut
hazy in the distance
ferry boats
wine country
hiking flat forest trails
taking the train to the City
News Channel 12:
As local as local news gets.


I look forward
to friendly locals
People who smile at you
for no reason.
Who say “please” and “thank you”
I look forward
to non-aggression

But I will miss the blue
And I will miss all of you

Farewell little island
that is not so little
for it is Long.

Farewell the
and chocolate

I stayed for a while
Longer than I expected
now I’m longing to leave;
I’m leaving you.

Good bye.