New York City skyline at night




Emily Axelrod

i dive artful…

i dive artful
a bucketful of tall
buildings to jump from
bulk and speed

a crashing sculpture
speed and grace
pockets full of air
trees blur

i could be twenty
stories up fifty eight
stories i could be
meaning to jump

but not telling
screening the
machine while barely

something burning
on the stove
while i am painting
my face in the next

room i could be standing
on the edge so still
a painting of a lake
might take a moment's

hesitation to reflect
white smoke the pan
of gold the blur
and barely breathing

or plunge down
and fan the flame the last
thing I remember
saying that this danger

this exaggerated
fear is nothing
that concerns me
billows out and lifts my

sleeves i could be
jumping as we speak
i could dive soulless
from some peak

of high despair
and from my pockets
scatter dust and strands
of hair


The Second Agreement

(with reference to Don Miguel Ruiz)

You want me
to comfort you.
But I can't
stop you when
you take too much
abuse or you mistake
me for your enemy.
All I can say is all abuse
is too much.
And I am wounded
by your lack
of sympathy
for you or me.
You have no right
to judge
yourself fit
to be hurt or to hurt.
You should give nothing
but tolerance and you
should take nothing
of people's fury.
Because to let
them condemn
you means you
choose the jury.
You want me
to agree
that we are foes.
But all I can say is
you deserve nothing
but love.
Love is all
you deserve
So please take nothing


buildings get torn down…

buildings get torn down and reconstructed
and i'm still across the street here working
or something like it, dragging my feet from
the subway up the stairs and into the
elevator where i check my hair and
adjust my sweater and answer the phone
all day long doing other people's jobs
for them while they take their own orders from
the powers that be and i'm looking out
the window at a wrecking ball and crane
and hard hats that shield the men from danger
and the only thing i face besides this
view is the steady flow of paper on
my desk, and resentment, slowly building.



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