old man & city

red lights green lights
he reads as the rhythms of his neuroses
their permissions and refusals
smother the urges to collide

he knows the history of the tall ships
that blew in on self-serving winds
anchored attitudes of square-toe infallibility
fashioned the learning curves of wild orchid to well bred
and misty big cat and fish to icon

he smiles at mute escalators and the catchiest displays
softening the penalties of clustering
smiles again at the how much? exchanges
keeping everyone on speaking terms

he strolls and stops to look at things
strolls again stops again
they’re young and serious in the right clothes
and with hurry in their feet
he smiles (old habit) and lets them pass
they head on and up

Lucky Plaza in the middle of it all
on the good side of strongback Sumatra
no earthquake no tsunami
lucky

above him is the lofty city
the ice giant
of long hours for mason and carpenter
hammering hammering
vertical imperatives

27 thoughts on “old man & city

  1. Poetry is, for me, essentially about emotion, empathy and the ability to connect and stir the reader. This poem certainly does so, John, yet I also find myself wanting to comment upon its structure and style. I admire the natural flow you create without relying on any overt rhythm. I think that this allows the reader to become immersed in the imagery of your words and lines and I found myself drifting away in this.
    I particularly enjoyed the opening of your second ‘verse’.
    This is so very much my ‘cup of tea’, John.
    My best to you, Sir.

  2. You stir my imagination. Putting me at ease to settle into a place where the real sharing in life takes place, the avenue of romantics. When the scribes’ thoughts lead me into cozy dens of creativity and endless possibilities for interpretation where I am emotionally sated. So please; write on and never let your creative pen rest. Ever your friend, Jon Michael

  3. That 4th stanza took my breath away. The contrast between the old man strolling and stopping and looking at things and the young, serious and in the right clothes with “hurry
    in their feet ” touches me with its tender embrace of both the old and the young. Thank you, John.

  4. Brother John – Enjoyed this stroll through the history and environs of this city. Especially liked these lines that carry me along through its history,

    he knows the history of the tall ships
    that blew in on self-serving winds

    its reason of existence,

    smiles again at the how much? exchanges
    keeping everyone on speaking terms

    its population, young and old,

    they’re young and serious in the right clothes
    and with hurry in their feet

    and its eternal developing,

    hammering hammering
    vertical imperatives

    Enjoyed!

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