Snow, sleet, rain and wind–
tonight is New York City’s time of umbrage
and discontent, whipping through streets,
screaming stormy weather in its path,
thunderous winter loosing electricity from her skies.
Streets slick, people wearied from the pounding snow
slow their steps, lest they fall–
this night creeps on till morning light
brings promises of sunny skies.
Snow is black in this city of endless life,
as cars roll by, buses filled with diesel fuel,
trains and dogs and people crushing it to hardened masses
the pristine flakes, now turned into a city’s detritus.
Images of white are cast in the mind
or painted apartment walls, with childhood memories lost in dreams.
The city’s snow has always been black.
A century before
when coal belched forth and sooted streets enveloped her
people, suffocating all. Black then
Our city was never white
once the white man stepped on shore,
the Dutch first to claim the tip and strike her into streets of mud and foulness
from her bowels released.
Count plagues and fever many,
as sewage and garbage, human waste and trash polluted waterways,
illness felled the poor, the rich fared better but not more so
that all succumbed to dysentery’s toll,
and 3,500 die of cholera 200 years later
while city bankers run money instead of water
through New York’s streets.
Perhaps snow is white in New England,
or in the land of Robert Frost,
or in Wyoming or Ohio,
but not here.
City dirt covers streets and parks alike,
there is no remedy,
so many in so little space continues unabated the grayness
cast from sky to street.
Even a summer’s heat bears no brilliance.
So odd that sometimes sky blue bears radiance unforeseen
as in that day more than a decade past
when death in contrast made a city gray and black as night.