Books and Arts

New York City (Poem)


The television's just like everywhere--
the news, the so-called comedies. One feels
let down; this is a separate nation, no?
For here one speaks English self-consciously,
embarrassed to be speaking it so well
amid the toehold accents and the slurs
of knitcapped beggars whining, "Some loose change?"
This Pandemonium whose sky is like
the unfilled spaces of a crossword puzzle,
whose bad breath underground makes sidewalks shudder,
whose sheets of windows rise like thirsty thunder
above the glaze of blinding expectation--
this hell holds sacred crevices where lone
lost spirits preen and call their pit a throne.

By John Updike

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