New York Night by Gabriel G. Scheller

New York is beautiful.

I forgot how much I missed it.

So much life in this city. American remix.

Culture rich city. I’ll move there someday,

just to see the breakers dancing in the subway.

There’s no music there; the sound system’s busted.

D-line. Old man, hands calloused and crusted.

The music flows out of his fingers to his violin.

Bach. Dvorak.

I don’t know which one it is,

but it’s beautiful.

The notes send shivers down my spine.

So crisp and so clear, from his soul to mine.

Moving on. Late night. Lost.

Times Square.

Eerie neon piercing the cold winter air.

The streets are packed.

I bump a shoulder. I’m sorry.

Thousands of people, each with his own story.

So many eyes, so many faces, so many mouths.

One in particular manages to stick out.

A creature with many eyes; they keep blinking at me,

opening, closing, keepin’ a beat.

Its voice, its cry, warm and mellow. Its skin,

shiny gold. Carmel. Yellow.

The streets. The people. The music in my ears.

I throw him some change from my pocket;

I played the sax for 8 years.

He asked me why I stopped.

I didn’t have an answer.

He started again. I walked away faster.

Time to go. Where’s my train?

I hope I don’t get lost again,

but I make it on time.

Seventh Ave. MTV.

I remember that hot dog stand.

I’m actually early.

Good thing;

 Gramma woulda’ been worried.

I walk to a shop.

Penn Station is huge.

Buy some water.

Two men lookin’ used.

They have a tired, sad look in their eyes,

like their spirits are broken,

like they want to cry,

like they been to hell and back.

Put down their beers.

They were Brian and Tone.

They’ve forgotten

more than I’ve known.

A comment,

as usual,

about my ‘fro.

Be proud to be black.

[© GGS 2005, all rights reserved.]

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2 Comments on “New York Night by Gabriel G. Scheller

  1. Gabe performed this at Wheaton onetime…I believe at a Poetry and Jazz Night through the Diversity Committee/Student Government. I had nearly forgotten about this performance. I remember hearing him perform this poem, both nervous and excited to share his work in public. This really brings back some good memories of Gabriel. And honestly, of all the work I have seen of his, this is definitely one of my favorites…It is such a beautiful poem Mrs. Scheller, thank you for sharing it.

  2. Thank you, Lola, for giving me some context. I just found it on a piece of paper. Do you recall a title? I made this one up.

    Next week, I’m going to post his light-hearted ode to childhood, with all its cultural references. And, along with it, a cartoon of Mike and his buddies when they were younger.

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