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Poetry: I Am Living In This City

I am living in this city

I am living in this city.

I make left turns onto one ways, and know the way

I go from house to house

I speak the lingo of these people, their four-sided-ness.

What I mean is that people, here, in their houses, are like homes, and they speak in sharp-edges;

in high and mighty vowels.

This city is its mistakes, a whole history of them.


I am a history of mistakes.

I stretch out my arms, and am greedy.

I don’t care at all anymore what parts of me,

Of all of myself and all the people that made me this way will never touch this city’s heart.

I swear this city has a heart, a beating, sad, sappy thing;

The type of heart that watches old movies alone in the middle of February.

I am living in this city, and taking what I want.

I never knew I could want like this.

A year ago I would have written, “I am a caged bird.”

In all the movies the birds come back, their black feathers turned white;

all eye-haunted and skinny

They shake their little wings in distrust of whatever foolish owner let them leave.

But I’ve changed my mind.

This city is no cage, and it never tried to hold me.

Lately, it’s places that seem like birds,

Or like stray cats we fed one night and couldn’t get rid of.

Desperate to hear their names in the stories we tell to each other.

This city is just a place too near an edge

Someone told me the falls is moving closer

That one day it will tear the heart right out from underneath us.

Well, I am tired of thinking of things like this

Of edges, and ends and cities that want to be ours, but aren’t

tess nowadly

how to get your poetry in Artvoice

In the Margins occasionally features poetry by local writers. The poetry editor is Florine Melnyk. Submissions of no more than five poems and no more than 10 pages in length can be sent by e-mail to or by mail to Florine Melnyk, Poetry Editor, Artvoice, 810 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202 Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have manuscripts returned.

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