New York Poems 

New York 1.
They say that Manhattan is a state of mind

But I’ve looked on the map

And it’s definitely there.
It doesn’t stop,

Not even in the dead of night,

The rumbling, the growl,


No wonder they look so angry.
I went into Starbucks at five in the morning

And there was already a queue.

Shuffling jittery city dwellers,

The insomniacs and the early risers,

The boy who cannot sleep in

The city that never sleeps,

Nothing more offputting than a

Mardy pre-caffeine New Yorker.
Don’t take coffee, I take

Well actually I do take coffee,

Thanks for asking,

And maybe one of those tarts.

I’m English, you know.
Sitting in the window and watching

The cyclists,

Weaving, open-mouthed.

Stop lights mean nothing to them,

Life seems so tentative,

These two-wheeled mosquitoes,

How many of them end up 

Plastered on the front of those

Big-assed delivery trucks that you see,

Or some nobhead’s Humvee?
I thought the barista was only being nice

When he asked me for my name.

He repeated it with a smile, all

Rhotic on the consonants,

Elongating the vowels in a way

They don’t normally get pronounced,

Making my heart all fluttery

Until I notice he’d written it on my cup.
It’s the familiar things 

That make me feel at home.

Crushing disappointment,

And the fact that they

Also have McDonalds over here.
New York 2.
I need one with a shot of espresso.

You’re the newbie, you’ll need this.

There’s a whole bunch of confidence there.

She never told anyone

But she likes attention.

She’s like that with every guy, trust me.

And then she can cut him out, say uh-oh,

It’s like oh, it’s bad, she’ll go far,

She got green locker room doors,

She won’t try to apologise.

I don’t have an issue with her.

Every time I told her she gave me the one two.

I used to consider you a friend

And I was your friend whatever.
(Found poem, three NYPD police women chatting in a coffee shop at the next table).
New York 3.
The way he’s sitting

And what he’s wearing

And his hair

Those are the definites.

His sensitive eyes

His long eyelashes and the

Way he just looked 

At that jogger,

Those are the peripheries.

And the hoodie,

American Dance Theatre,

Alvin Ailey,

Whatever that is.

(I will google it later).

It’s all mostly symbolic

I feel

I know him.
New York 4.
She took my hand and danced with me

Amid the noise and clamour and cacophony 

Of Times Square 

As the skyscrapers whirled in their

Concrete and glass delirium,

She yelled

Above the engines and the horns and the

Shouting and the hooters and the sirens and the roar

And the buzz and the energy and the excitement

And the rush and the glee and the pulsing rhythms

Of the city in all its brash omnipotence,


I thought you were my husband.
New York 5.
(Amid the Abstract Expressionists, MoMa)
He, who isn’t here

Would have haunted these

Very pictures,

Broken nose to canvas

And a ready opinion.

Losing himself

In the Pollock

And it’s intricate action,

Felt a spark of the very now,

And would have known everyone

On first name terms.

Jasper. Jackson. Elaine. Robert. Mark.
The boy with the red trainers,

A sly flitting nonchalant phantom

Who will blond my dreams

With his purposeful demeanour

Right now here and

F would have approved.
New York 6.
I’ve only got one joke about denim.

A one liner about crinoline.

I’ve only got a couple of puns about nylon

And a quip about silk


I’ve run out of material.
New York 7.
(Written in Tom’s Diner)
I wasn’t sitting near the window.

I was at the counter.

But it was still the diner on the corner

And the burger was mighty fine

On a drizzly Manhattan Saturday.
And there’s a ball game on the tv screen,

Notre Dame are playing NC State

And I’m not sure what the sport is

But they’ve all got helmets and shoulder pads.
There’s a picture from a magazine

Of Jerry Seinfeld on the wall and he’s

Kind of looking at me imperiously

As I eat my burger which,

As I said, is mighty fine.
I’ve got that tune in my head now,

You know the one.

The Seinfeld tv theme music.

I probably wouldn’t have come here

If it wasn’t for, you know,

These two things.
New York 8.
The Staten Island ferry 

Everyone is merry

They’re all waving at me!

Am I a celebrity?

Have I been recognised?

Am I famous here?

No, they’re

Wiping mist from the windows

Of the inside seating area.

I’m depressed now.
New York 9.
She purred

Hold on there, honey,

I’ll just put you through

On to line number three.

There was barely a click.

No static.

She’s such a

Smooth operator.
New York 10.
I want to go out with Rhys.

I want to have a date with Rhys.

I want to spend quality time with Rhys.

I want to get to know Rhys.

I want to be with Rhys.

I want to make out with Rhys

I want to express my love for Rhys

I want to have relations with Rhys

I want to be at peace 

With Rhys.
I say to Rhys





Please please please

Rhys Rhys Rhys


Come on

Don’t be a tease

Put me at my ease

I haven’t got flees

You are the bees



What do you say?


What of it, Rhys what of it, Rhys what do you reckon?

You and me Rhys please Rhys what do you think Rhys

Me and you Rhys you and me Rhys us together Rhys 


Us together Rhys us together Rhys us us us

Together together together 


Rhysie babes.

Oh dear!

Rhys has gone walking off.

Rhys has gone walking off.

Rhys has gone walking off.

Rhys has gone walking off.

Rhys has gone walking off.

Rhys has gone walking off.


Has called the police.
New York 11.
The big pancake. The big muffin.

The big nausea. The big nothing.

The broad one. The tall one.

The big fella. The concrete devotional.

The prostrate giant. The cosmopolitan.

The metropolitan. The big breakfast.

The all day lunch. The concrete funnel.

The distorted mirror. The seismic cherry.

The license to chill. The delicatessen.

The bad boy. The big bad boy,

Cavernous potholes so deep you’ll 

Lose yourself for a week.

The big dependable. The three-way delicious.

The exuberant fruit. The hungry papa.

The pumping beehive. The big badger.

The big glacial. The big crazy.

The big security. The big despicable.

The big beat. The big Apple.
New York 12.
No ghost dance

On these gentle hills

Nor ceremonial gatherings

On the granite outcrops, 

Central Park no wilderness,

Just the whisper of

Other people’s conquests

Too rooted in the now

To wander successfully.
New York 13. 
Melissa loves her new boyfriend

She was telling me 

He’s got it all and she’s fallen for him

And love is a tentative thing,

It makes her heart sing

That just a glimpse of him

Makes her all tingly inside.

Tell me more, said I.
His name is

It’s amazing,

It’s true love.

We haven’t actually been on a date,

But we shared the taxi home

From a Eurovision Song Contest party

And he was so nice.

He didn’t even touch me.

What a gentleman.

I’ve already changed my

Facebook relationship status.
He’s not like other men.

He doesn’t try to impress you

With a list of all the blokey masculine 

Macho things he’s done.
He’s ever so retro.

He likes antiques.

Old things. Ancient things.

He loves Cher.

He has a big droopy moustache

The kind that women in the seventies

Used to love.
He works on boats.

You never see him without his sailor’s cap.

But he also likes the countryside,

He loves camping.

And cottages.
He’s so manly

Yet he’s not afraid to show his emotions.

Just the opening chords of I Will Survive 

Has him in floods of tears.

He has the soul of a rebel,

And a connoisseurs appreciation

Of the female form

In all it’s beauty.

Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, 

Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland

Barbra Streisand.


He’s a punk demon tearing up the road with his


Which I haven’t seen

But he wears lots of leather 

And he says there’s nothing better than a 

Big one throbbing between his legs.

He’s the man for me!
He’s so caring.

He doesn’t want to upset whoever 

Gave him the Tshirt that reads,

It’s Raining Men.

But he wears it all the time.

And on the back it says

He’s coming round tomorrow night,

I’m going to tell him the way I feel

Over quiche.

He says he’ll do my nails

And watch a box set of the Golden Girls.

I might put the football on.

He was telling me

How much he likes footballers.

And ball sports in general.

He’s the man for me!
I’ve got him some whiskey.

He says he likes a stiff one 

Before bed.
So what do you think?
And I said, well,

First the good news is

I can’t see any problem looming with his

Red blooded masculine urges,

And the whole time you’re together

He won’t even look at another woman.

He’s not the sort of man

Who’ll force himself on you

Unless you’ve got the latest issue of Vogue,

And he’ll make your flat spotless.

You’ll be up to date with all of the

Latest celebrity gossip

And he’ll be genuine interested

In how much you hate your work colleagues.
And now for the bad news.

There will be no kids

I can guarantee it.

Try as you might

You’ll never break his heart.

And be prepared to meet a lot of

Impossibly handsome young men who have all

Inexplicably missed the last bus home,

One by one, on consecutive nights.
It’s not going to happen, sister.

It’s not going to work.

Take your mind off this man, this

Aesthetically pleasing man, this sensitive

Teasing perfumed perfect

Moisturiser tube squeezing

Eyebrow tweezing 

Salad seizing

Wit so cold it’s

Almost freezing man

For whom the dance of life

Is to dance all night

With the kind of type

He likes to like

Which I’m afraid, honey,

Is not you.
That’s a shame, she said,

He’s coming round tonight to pick up his 

Black and Decker Angle Grinder.

Oh, I said,

In that case I take it all back.
I met a wizard, a sage,

A man of his age

Whose wage was to lift

His spells from the page,

Engage with souls and enrage 

As if locked in a cage,

Mix emotions, persuade, rampage,

Oh, how I would gauge

With a hint of outrage

As I performed on the stage,

He was an old man

So he wasn’t teenage,

His name was Adrian

But his friends called him Adge.
I said,

Wise man,

Tell my why people are suffering,

For when my heart is fluttering

I hear a low muttering,

It’s happening right now

Over the coughing and spluttering,

Like a YouTube clip

That won’t stop buffering.
Why is this world filled with hate and with

Torture, and hunger and greed,

People who don’t get what they need,

It’s like hatred has planted a seed

Which won’t go away

Until we are freed,

Plus a lot of people

Routinely lose their car keys,
And soldiers,

Dressed in their khakis,

So glib their humour, so sarky,

So cold outside, it really is parky,

It’s a lark, see.

Oh wise man, I beseech thee,

You could teach me,

I’m out of reach, see.

If I was a germ you could bleach me.

Oh wise man, unleash me.
He opened his mouth to speak, see,

Thought about it deeply,

Cleared his throat and said,

And I said,

Give me all your learnings, I’m yearning

To feel that burning

And the world turning,

Life is unfurling

Like ideas thrown in the air

I’m hurling

Concepts at ya,

What philosophy can we capture,

Or otherwise enrapture.

Tell me wise man,

Have you got it beat?

Is the street your retreat to make

Your life complete

Like a celebrity reTweet

Tell us why

Life ain’t so sweet.
He pondered and said,

The trouble is
And I said,

I crave the truth quell the horror in my brain,

The souls I fear who die in their millions,

The humanity of which we are all a part,

I no more fear the truth, let it blaze like a bonfire

As it wells from deep within, for I cannot help but cry

At all the lies that blind us,
And he said, the thing is

And I said,

Blinded by the clap trap,

I’d rather eat a flapjack,

Drive around in a hatchback,

Wear a backpack,
And he said, if I might interject

And I said 

Back catch

Sack crack



Luggage rack

Quarter back



And he just walked off. 

1 Comment

  1. Paul S says:

    As a homeless man on Manhattan once told me, “You’re never alone in New York.”


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