Prize Poetry

The City That Never Sleeps Part Two

by a young woman, age 16

22. introvert
who’s
stupid idea was it
to think you’d
enjoy it here

23. retired
most flock south
but you never were one to
follow the status quo

24. smog
hold your breath in the summertime
(and maybe the winter too)
you should have stayed home
stinging lungs
and panic attacks
never did mix well

25. seasonal
too quickly
the air bites
too violently
your spirit crashes
almost doesn’t count
when you write your last words
(again)

26. JFK INTL
all the escapists
in the same place
going to, coming from
both visitors to
and runners from
home

27. underground
addiction is a business
that keeps the
wicked afloat
and forces the
beautiful
under

28. immigrant
turkey wasn’t
even this
greedy
and corrupt
take me back home

29. breakup
they say it’s a city of
romance
they’re not the ones
avoiding the streets
you used to hold her on

30. slang
just in the way you shout
‘we tryna?’ instead of
‘are we trying to?’
is same the way I’ve buried my sorrows in a bottle before burying them in you

[Author’s statement: I did spend a lot of time writing these; though I did write them long before recent, they're one of the few pieces I still have that resonate with me. After my father passed, they seem to still stick with me. He was always the first to praise my writing when he got around to reading it.]