Editor’s Post: “Finding Magic in the City”

Even on an uneventful trip to New York City, I’ve always had one moment, at least one, that was magical. Take my last trip to New York. After a relentless winter with little sunlight, I thought that a trip to the city, on a relatively sunny day, would be a welcome change. Hopeful for a fun-filled trip, I woke up at six a.m. and prepared myself for an eight o’clock bus ride. As I drove to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, the sun was already bright, heating the city and melting snow. After boarding the bus, I fell asleep immediately, so the ride to New York seemed to happen in a matter of minutes. I woke up as the bus entered Manhattan.

Continue reading Editor’s Post: “Finding Magic in the City”

“Boston” by William Doreski

The Monument

The newest skyscraper offends with its defiant geometry inscribed in brutal planes and striations. The graveyard looks up and pleads. The last tourist drops on all fours and scrabbles in the dirt. He’s eating clods, spitting out the grass and swallowing the earth. It doesn’t matter who planted this garden of graves, or why the dead lie head to feet, feet to head. Only the glistening skin of the skyscraper can repel the relevant ghosts. Only its acute and unlikely angles can situate the suffering tourist in time and space. But he refuses to look up and enjoy the spectacle of a sneer of glass slicing the pure hard rind of the moon. Such gelatinous events occur almost every night, now that the President has re-elected. Maybe when the criminal charges toughen into bedrock, when the petroglyphs become more legible, everyone will learn to more convincingly blame everyone else. The graveyard sighs a modest but apocalyptic sigh as it ingests the tourist. When he awakens at home in the next century his hands will smell of dead heroes, and his feet will have petrified to agate. Someone will say, I told you so; but the skyscraper with its awkward stance will dominate still, its windows oozing spectrums the human eye can’t process or even detect.

The Current State of Matter

Expensive watches grimace
in a shop window so pricey
a security guard drools on it.

Fresh from the dimmest fusions,
I drift past with open pores.
Every neuron feels alit.

Every sentence seems too short
to describe the caffeine moment
when books I’ve read all my life

kick in with unearthly roar.
Sleek and seamless adolescents
sporting smartphones like rhinestones

chatter past in clots of flesh
a carnivore would tooth to rags.
Nothing edible for someone

of my persuasion, however.
Nothing but a stutter of goods—
expensive sunglasses, flimsy shoes,

jewelry pimpled with evening gloss.
I’ve walked so far my shoes fit
more firmly than ever, my hands

have swollen with tired blood.
Too many troubles converge
in this corridor of storefronts,

skyscrapers lilting overhead.
How much shine can I withstand
before my bones soup themselves

in whimpers of yellowish birth?
Those born digital recall
nothing of the egg. Their lives

elongate before them like shadows
thrust from the heart of the moon.
The books I’ve read all my life    (Stanza Break)

need not apply. Competing
shadows of tall buildings duel
in the fiery dark, and sales clerks

hover over powerful goods
no one has the moral power
to either purchase or refuse.

This Possum Hour

You say you’re nocturnal like
a possum. Remember that Pound
called Eliot Possum, meaning
the creature that plays dead
rather than express emotion.

At two AM the avenue
plays dead. The sidewalks curl
like lips. The tame trees planted
to shade dog walkers and pimps
defy lamplight with gloomy leers.

I should to describe you sitting up
in bed reading the bible
with the faintest hissing sound
like sand singing in an ebb tide.
Downstairs chuckling over puns

while you become too serious
to tease to life with sex, I picture
the mall leafless, cushioned with snow,
but the June night embraces me
with an argument I won’t refute.

Maybe when the shops creak open
and the famous hairdresser arrives
with his little moustache tingling,
maybe when the sailboats cream
the basin in the first big hour

of daylight the summer will seem
summer enough to enhance us.
But at this possum hour the cries
of dreaming dogs remind me
that so much has gone up in smoke

or fog or mist or unraveled ghost
that the trees have no cause to sneer,
and the bible you’re reading
may or may not falsify
the reckless history of our souls.

Your Favorite Tree Looming

At dusk in the public gardens
small, medium, and large dogs
off-leash speed across the lawns,

ears flapping. Propped on a bench
with your favorite tree looming
we merge into a single mass.

Einstein predicted warps in space
and time as energy flows
around large gravitational fields.

What about smaller entities
like a pair of seventy-year-olds
crushed together by the pink

of a fading sky? The glamor
of this hustling city passes
at a distance, a creature flowing

in a skein of yellow silk,
its assorted bling clinking.
A footfall shaped like a series

of grotesque errors tracks us
to our bench, smiles upon us,
and clomps off, dragging one foot.

Surely nothing in the bible
explains the parsing of souls
through digital processing.

Yet faces lit by smartphones
look ennobled, if sculpted in lard,
their spiritual excess burned off.

How long do we have to recline
with our senses bubbling before
the light fails so completely

that whatever wants to devour us
can approach without a whisper?
We refuse to move. The last cloud

sheds its colors. Your tree thickens
to warp us into a shadow
so deep we’ll have to escape it

like clambering out of a well
with the entire world watching
to see how naked we’ve become.

The Street of Many Spices

On the Street of Many Spices
only one toilet functions.
All night I hear it crying

down the sewers, plaintive notes
crumpling in the slush. The dead
of this long street congregate

at every corner. Tatters
of cigarette paper stick
to their lips. Their lack of breath

reeks of the rooms they occupied
before coughing up what passes
in most religions for a soul.

The local religion, however,
describes that emanation
not as soul but toxic gas,

and warns that inhaling it condemns
the victim to uncertainties
like lost wallets, passports, and keys.

I stay in my room after dark
and drink the local vino
and watch the one TV station

with sitcoms in several languages,
none of which anyone around here
speaks or understands. The creak

of giant footfall prowls the street.
I keep the curtains drawn and hope
the glow of TV doesn’t tempt

whatever skulks out there
to clamber through my window
and push its ugly face to mine.

Maybe when dawn arrives I’ll run
to the grocery for orange juice and milk.
I’ll pretend that living on this street                                      [stanza break]

is like living anywhere, the stink
of the one toilet stoking a blue
flame many stories tall, mocking

or maybe commemorating
the functions of the body
none of us love anymore.

william-doreski175

William Doreski recently retired after years of teaching at Keene State College in New Hampshire (USA). His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.

Four Poems by Christopher Mulrooney

entertainments

a quiet row succinctly handled
at the siphon stand down the street
and for something awfully sweet
hot cross buns faintly warmed over
and these are the oases after all
amongst the desert dwellers’ cubbyhole

fortress

well the gangbanging requires a mighty big area
to work with beams and lath and plaster
by the carload brought in special
and to cover all the noise the loudest décor
you have ever seen erected in Christendom

stalwarts
sure clean the house
drive the devil out at door
then quiet as a mouse
watch him come back evermore
sevenfold the dirty louse

pray you mater
what rubbish you luggage
the roundabout gits
not an ounce of leverage
to move a stone a pebble
and the world lies there

Christopher Mulrooney is the author of toy balloons (Another New Calligraphy), alarm (Shirt Pocket Press), supergrooviness (Lost Angelene), and Buson orders leggings (Dink Press).

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.

Editor’s Post – Voyager in the Eternal

The searching voyager wants perfect pastel etchings, for this city sits adorned with lavishly accented terrains, hanging antique robes decorated deliciously by human hands, created for the creation of this city by an act of God. A chorus of noise resonates from that perfectly pitched instrument, the human voice, and as the quiet is pierced, the surrounding, splendid dark, filled with dim, amber lights creates the semblance of an ascending dawn or a dreary dusk. The myriad cafes are open late and exude the aroma of something softly baking. Nighttime inhabitants of this ancient and almost secretive city walk in the dark like supernaturals in search of feasts while the voyager sinks secretly into the background, and, by doing so, escapes everyday imprisonments. A cyclone of humanity, without name, mind, or material surrounds her while the wind floats softly covering her with color, breath, and fragrance.

1415653468395[1]

Ayesha F. Hamid is the founder and editor in chief at The City Key.  Ayesha has an MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Publishing from Rosemont College and an MA in Sociology from Brooklyn College. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Big Easy Review Philly Flash Inferno and Rathalla Review. Ayesha is a lover of cities, big and small.

Editor’s Post – “Entering the City”

Coming out of the dark bus depot,
the traveler is greeted by bright lights
like jewels streaming emerald, ruby, sapphire.

Glimmering entities, at times distinct,
at times coalesced encourage high hopes
as city dwellers swarm around them
like satellites to stars.

Thirst arises for knowledge
of this city, its history, its people.

This need to know is matched
only by a thirst for sweet liquid
which, when found, fills incomparably well.

Sublime sugar runs down the middle
of the mouth while sour lemon
seeps at the sides. Sipping the cold can
feels commensurate to absorbing everything
as the city swallows with its noise and sights,
the liquid drowns the senses.
For a few solitary seconds there is
a feeling of complete relief.

1415653468395[1]

Ayesha F. Hamid is the founder and editor in chief at The City Key.  Ayesha has an MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Publishing from Rosemont College and an MA in Sociology from Brooklyn College. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Big Easy Review Philly Flash Inferno and Rathalla Review. Ayesha is a lover of cities, big and small.

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.