DAILY PHOTO: Doodhwala Dharamshala, Bhubaneswar

Taken in December of 2021 in Old Town, Bhubaneswar

Thin Cities [Free Verse]

There are cities where
the veneer of normality 
is so thin

that it feels as though
one could fall through
at any time,
plummeting
into the true city.

Varanasi,
New Orleans,
Tokyo after midnight, 
parts of Prague & Bangkok

I can't say what's beneath
the veneer,
but, oh, does part of me
 want to know!

These are places 
better visited than lived in,
for their magic cannot 
survive extended proximity.

Unclocked Hours [Free Verse]

Stepping out onto a city street
in the cool, unclocked hours
of the morning.

One looks about,
but not as one does in daylight --
i.e. in response to sound.

Instead, one looks about
in response to the lack of sound.

A clawing sound 
from a burrowing rat
isn't worth one's attention.

It's the silence 
that calls upon the mind
as to a sailor on shore leave.

DAILY PHOTO: One Atlantic Center, Midtown Atlanta

Taken in November of 2021 in Atlanta

DAILY PHOTO: Autumn Morning Skyline, Midtown Atlanta

Taken from Georgia Tech in November of 2021

City as Organism [Free Verse]

There are cities 
that grow upon cities,

piling them up 
and spreading them out;
amoeba-like false feet
reaching down the cold run
corridors of transit

Markets grow up 
through the cracks -
some vast and hardy
tumors of commerce
while others are little 
card table kiosks
kicked into corners

The view becomes 
uniform & undifferentiated -
like an ocean,
sprawling to infinity
in all directions;
more complex than the sea
but equal in its
dispiriting sameness

In some room or another,
in that vast repository of rooms,
everything that can happen
is happening --
loving, killing, praying,
torturing, healing, 
and so on

Rooms are the city's cells;
the buildings - its organs;
the neighborhoods - its systems;
and we are but molecules 
in the city's scheme.