3 Poems at Christmas 2013

Perry Brass—Guest Poetic Contributor

Up on the Rooftop of the Met

Brass Christmass poems 2013

It is 7:30 in early September

and the sun is releasing its last

splendor of light,

gray and silver over Central Park,

while the clouds put on a show

as intense as falling in love,

and easily as missable if you

think too hard.

About a hundred people are up here,

in friendly but isolated groups,

though a pattern is apparent—it’s

to see and yet not be

too taken with it: New York, wealthy,

a peacock at their feet, shakes

its tail but safely at a distance. It’s

a snapshot of life, taken on an Iphone

that will be deleted later. It’s alive

as the Museum down below: august, and slightly bored, impatient but still winking at us.

Sept. 7, 2013

Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum

November 22

It was fifty years ago today;

before “Sergeant Pepper”—it wasn’t

supposed to be this way; it wasn’t

supposed to end like that. Nobody

is supposed to end like that. It’s a

mystery. Its aching sadness—

the characters almost fictional,

like religion—waves through you

in various states of belief. You

think about it. You’re there again.

The flags at half-mast, and you see

Jack Ruby and Lee Oswald meeting

for the first time on live TV. And    

Jack and Jackie Kennedy at ChristmasJack and Jackie Kennedy at ChristmasJack—John—gone, now almost

angelic in presence, with that snappy

grin that hid such lacerating pain,

and his own timidity and complexity,

sharpened with a wit that went directly

to his father’s heart. But he taught us

how to be smart enough to hide that

essential weakness that keeps us alive

— if you don’t listen to the lessons

of history that destroy everyone. But

he’s gone. We’re gone. And all

that’s left are the weekend shadows

of words, and Jack’s half smile.

Nov. 22, 2013

Bronx, NY

New York Is Filled with Boys

Suddenly New York is filled with boys—

fourteen-year-old boys and sixty-year-old

Santaboys, twelve-year-old boys and forty-year-old boys—and for a moment they’ve discarded the usual Gotham shell and are showing their boy parts to all the world, which in New York is New York. They’re mad and happy and kinda crazy all over with the luck of being boys in New York, eating hot dogs

and pretzels, not radicchio, and scrunching

potato chips in their palms to slide down

their throats and slurping peaches

and mangos on the streets and spitting stones

at their feet and not thinking about the cops

who are everywhere—but not bothering boys which is only right. Because there are

certain days when New York should be

made out of boys. Only boys.

August 21, 2013

in Bryant Park

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