There is a heart in New York,
not merely on t-shirts sold on sidewalks
but in the blues licks you hear from porters,
lining the gangway, cooing a history to wanderers.

When little can be said,
there will be much shown
And welcome is a state of mind
That Harlem bus stops reverberate with.

The blind hear the visitor in the voice
as the spur of laughter unfolds,
the warmth of a map –
that confronts the uncertainty
of a nation on the cusp, of a visionless choice.

We witness the rain,
huddled in that shelter
As lovers diffuse the strangeness
With an embrace, which sways buses
Away from the puddles by the sidewalk,
And a few strangers will now smile
on their journey downtown.

A passenger notices foreignness
and wipes the mist off
Signs on the window pane
clarifying the etiquette of seating
As a ramp rolls down
for wheelchairs coming aboard.

The Halloween parade has assembled
And Greenwich village, 6th avenue is,
floating with ghosts that sing and laugh!
The demon nun from the second Conjuring
bares his fangs at me, and I know
Now! how Hallows and Hollywood
Come together.

Three blocks north east
is the school in exile
And I wonder how much
May have been gained if,
Walter Benjamin had found
his way across the Atlantic
yet the Arcades Project was already safe
Consoled, I looked for a subway.

A restless curiosity is incurable
yet where pharmaceutical companies fail,
the boxcar has won
A mingling of people, bodies, languages and love

The old re-assure the young
That this too, shall pass
But not before you learn how
only a stranger can cradle your cares,
As she rests her face on a backpack in her arms.


Arsh Selvyn

Arsh Selvyn

Arsh Selvyn is a school teacher of History and Literature. He has previously worked as an archivist at the Economic and Political Weekly.