an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22

 

John J Trause

SKYLINE

Who needs to live in New York City

when one has such a view

as I have here from these my windows

in the back rooms of my home,

the sparkling skyline of Manhattan

from the west, so bright and jewel-colored,

with newer buildings and towers rising in a layered pile,

and paneled depth instead of a flat picture plane and much

unlike the classic skyline of my childhood

and youth, delineated only by white lights

and punctuated here and there, if so, with red?

And in the recent past of this millennium,

this vision of Manhattan seemed more like that

of a far East Asian or Middle Eastern city,

recently sprung up and fast expanding

with multi-colored minarets and scintillating domes.

Oh, it looks like the Emerald City, she said one night

on seeing this tableau after many years.

By day, the pile has a range of smoky hues

and pastel gradients of gray, dull brown, and muted silver.

Behind it the rosy-fingered dawn is manifest,

yes, here in long-layered strands of rose and shades of pale pink,

no longer just poetic formula.

The bustle, liveliness, and drama of the City

is muted from this distance, but not unknown

or unimagined.

At sunset this vast horizon blazes with reflected light,

orange metallic, fluorescent gold, rose, almost merthiolate,

mercurochrome from home.

John J Trause, the Director of Oradell Public Library, is the author of six books of poetry and one of parody, Latter-Day Litany (Éditions élastiques, 1996), the latter staged Off Broadway.  His translations, poetry, prose, scholarship, and visual work appear internationally in many journals and anthologies.  He is a founder of the William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative in Rutherford, N. J., and the former host and curator of its monthly reading series.