Actually surprised that this poem wasn’t posted earlier as I wrote it back in 2013. I can thank Mayor de Blasio for reminding of this poem with his latest headlines.
Spires rise from the darkest of nights.
A city struck by crises in the dawn of an era
Looks to recover the innocence it has lost.
But while the building goes on
And life attempts to restablize
An incessant pursuit acts
As cure to our ills.
The mantra to buy
Or to simply engage
A marketplace of petty baubles.
Light is restored to the darkened regions
As rebuilding does goes on
But for all our will to come back better
We are drawn like flies to fire.
Our goals, to acquire
To continue the monotony
Of the rat race to which
We have all been played.
While abstract numbers reach new record heights
And mirror the rise of our fallen ashes.
We still allow our neighbors of this fair city
To be ignored by the march for a new Gilded Age.
Hang banners of patriotism and superiority
Hold true to the dream that crafted our crises.
History is dead. The good times are coming.
Forget the losers of the Great Rat Race.
How can it be that such a powerful place
A center of commerce, culture, and life
Can fail to invest in its very own future?
How can the greatest city on earth
Forget its responsibility to humankind?
There was once a dream
For a city upon a hill
Shining and glowing
For all the world to see
To believe, to aspire
While our centers of finance continue to blossom
Our hubs of education fall into decay.
As our stores grow larger and with more variation
Salaries and pensions are cut by the year.
As buildings rise to greater heights
In an effort to show our unbreakable will
To our foes both near and those afar
We neglect our own friends who seek shelter below
In the tunnels and subways that span the Great Gilded City.
What can be done to address this challenge
Without subverting the promise the city does bring?
How can the gold that gildes our fair city
Go deeper and into the streets without?