News from Bella in New York

Dear Poet Who Summons Other Poets,

I wrote this on July 4th at 12:50 am and I think it relates to some of the questions you asked me in a recent voicemail.

Come see me,
Bella Levenshteyn

Words for America,
New York specifically

new york you have taught me i can make it anywhere
new york you have taught me how to stand on a moving subway car
new york you have taught me the color of my skin
new york you have taught me the colors and stars of the puerto rican flag
new york you have taught me not to get fazed
new york you have taught me about section 8
new york you have taught me how to say no
new york you have taught me about ghettoization
new york i have learned how to hail a taxi
new york i have learned where to find beer for $1.75
new york i have learned about “blended families” and “nontraditional students”
new york, i am going to use words like pain
(new york, i am going to use words like survival)
new york i have walked uptown and downtown
i have shattered the illusion of the american dream
new york i am beginning to speak your language
new york fuck you
new york i love you, but you’re bringing me down
new york you’re the apple of america’s eye
new york i have crossed your bridges
i have seen your dirty laundry
i have puked on your subway platforms
i have cried underground
i have lost my Weltschmerz
new york i have screamed in your bedrooms
new york i have chased down your buses
new york i know someone who shot someone
new york, you don’t know me
new york i am angry
new york i’m exhausted
new york you delight me
new york i am ready

–from collaborative novel-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

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