Magazine — 15.07.21

NYC: The City Of Dreams And Doubts

Photography STELLA CAI

I imagine when I am older I will pick up the piano again

Scores of Schubert and Clayderman I will memorize by hand
But for now I have no time
Because youth is wasted on less patient things
Running after people who will always outrun you
Chasing recognition
Of overused words like impact and influence and ingenuity

I do not have time for these less patient things
Such as writing this poem
Calling my mother
befriending the girl who is shunned in school
Standing up for myself
(Just laugh it off it will save everyone’s time)

Because who in their precious youth can afford to do such frivolous things like
Questioning the self?
It is much more efficient
To walk away
(And turn up the music on my phone)

I did a lot of crying in my first year in New York
In fact I think I cried everyday
In the classroom
On the subway
As I locked my bike outside the laundromat
It really was all very time-consuming
Less patient things I had no time for

I sit on the subway going downtown
Someone walks in and gets down on their knees
I am begging
They say
For you to spare some change today
Of course the New Yorkers around me are used to this
(I am not used to this
I will never be used to this)
I watch the commuters sitting cross from me
Reach into their pockets and hand over spare coins
Into cupped hands
I watch the well-dressed man next to me
Turn up the music on his phone

And then I am at my stop
Third avenue fourteenth street
It was such convenient timing really
I stand up and walk out of the car
I do not reach into my pockets
I say nothing
Look at no-one

I walk out of the station into the rain
I scold myself for shedding yet more useless tears
I did not have time for such less patient things
The man in this photograph is Hash Halper (New York Romantic), who has drawn thousands of hearts all over the city and who recently passed away.

Stella Cai is a freelance journalist and poetry enthusiast living in New York City.


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