Monday, March 31, 2008

Christopher Atamian: Washington Heights - 1


Beirutine roses dot Islamic arches
Peacock curves and serpentine roads
Medieval monastery and orange baked church tops
Smog fuming strong from exhaust pipes escaping
Over mile-long lighted bridge
Named after a President long gone.

Orthodox men with smart doe-eyed women
Weave past garish blue modernist bus depot
Dominican muscles strain under tight cotton mesh
The smell of arroz con pollo, shaved ice mango and street vendor

An Armenian church, parishioners long-gone, stands guard on West
187th Street.
Chinese and Iranian medical students, books in hand
Ghosts that you can barely detect anymore
Whisper secrets nonetheless.

Biblical Babel rose to the skies, punishment from God
But here babble is like a paradise lost
Singing its sweet immigrant songs: a promise.

-Christopher Atamian. Used here by kind permission of the author.

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