Tuesday, March 13, 2018

New York in the gloom.

I like New York when it is wet like an old sponge and every umbrella you see is turned inside out from the wind or else stands sentinel in a beaten trash can full of them.

I like New York in the dark and grey gloom when the sky sits just above the tenements and scowls like an old man short-changed for soup at a lunch counter.

I like New York when the color is gone save for the white silver glow of street lamps and the spindly trees in the park look like they grew fully formed from an old Edward Weston photograph.

In the last ten days, the news has told me, we have had in New York three winter storms, including today’s slug in the rib cage. The city moves to the haunt of Wagner’s Gotterdammerung or maybe something dark and gutter scraping by Thelonius. Or maybe something by Sonny Terry--a dark Delta blues number because the city feels like a woman who hurt you.

There’s nothing, it seems, not even climate change that can break the cop’s-rough-grip of winter. While I don’t mind the cold and wet, while I don’t mind the wind in my face and the flakes in my eyes I long, like so many of my vintage do, for the crack of the bat and the laughter of young boys as they round the bases with not a care as we reach the end of all time.

And I think, just then, as my cab avoided a waist-deep pothole and suburbanites who drive as if they’re pinballs, and I think as I so often do, of Ernest Thayer.
Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.
I wait, as we all do, for the joy to return to Mudville.

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