All posts tagged: New York City



Image of a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC, with someone holding up a sign saying "No Justice, No Peace." 
New York City

After Kenosha, Wisconsin, 26 August 2020

1. Erasure

I went to the         for water, 
although I had no thirst, again 
unable to find           Not sleeping, 
roaming restless, hunting 
at 2am for             on my phone, 
no rabbit hole too deep, however 
dull, aching tired as though 
I had been              
Only three days into this, 
asked how my              was 
going, I launched into a tense             
            that the question even 
deserved              and saw how hard, 
again, I was trying not to            the 
plain fact that right in front of us,
again, the cop had emptied 
his          into a human, 
now                  yet shackled 
to his hospital bed.  That again, a 
young          had taken down a human 
with a military grade             yet 
          away from the scene unhindered. 
And that, again, we were being asked
to choke off              thoughts, stifle 
any            sound, stave and belt 
the chest to                our agitation, 
keep breathing because, again,

Image of Black Lives Matter written on the ground with dry flowers and a picture of George Floyd. 

2.  Rewrite

You can put your faith 
in a book, pray from it, place it
under a sick child’s pillow, press
flowers between the leaves, 
affirm love for the living, be 
in the swim of things, learn
what is human from its pages
and become that. The book 
will restore you,

A river of new works springs
constant, fresh from our longing,  
bearers of witness, verdicts,
drafts of history carrying clues 
or solace, sparking courage
to record something important, 
frank truth on a flyleaf, a secret 
scrawled on the dark side 
of the dust jacket – the proof 
our successors will need 
to secure what’s due. A book 
outlasts, speaks for us, 
for you.

Make your own, it will 
take care of your story.
I’ve put all I can bear to share
in a slim volume, memorial 
garden for my dead and those
I need to keep alive, talisman 
for days when I can’t recall 
the task, don’t love my comrades.
A book to stand for me when 
legs buckle under a heavy 
heart, a gathering flag to follow
on the road to being seen, 
heard, read right. A book will
carry you. Carry one. 

Akwe Amosu’s poems are a contribution to the
Solidarity Book Project, Amherst, October-December 2021.

Akwe Amosu
is a Nigerian/British poet. Her poems have appeared in South African journals
Carapace, New Contrast, and Stanzas, and US journals Illuminations and The Common, as well as African anthologies. Her book, Not Goodbye, was published by Snail Press in South Africa in 2010 and she was a featured poet at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in South Africa in 2014. She is based in New York, working on a project to support human rights leadership around the world. She previously worked at the Open Society Foundations and before that as a journalist and editor with the BBC, the Financial Times and, and with the UN in Ethiopia.


The Tech Giant


For our first date, Alex bikes all the way to Brooklyn Heights from the Upper West Side. Before we met, he told me how excited he was, how nervous. “I’ve never been on an online date before,” he confessed. “I don’t use apps.”

I made Negronis in jam jars and put them, with an ice pack, in my tote. I arrive terrified at the promenade. When I see the skyline, framed by haze and blue river water, I cry out. It’s the end of May, and for almost three months, I’ve been alone in my apartment. My loneliness propels me to risk contamination. I don’t tell friends or family. But they live with partners, kids. They have no right to judge.

Alex lives alone, too. We make jokes that aren’t jokes about going crazy; I even talked about crying. Hahaha really?, he wrote, then asked me out.

For two minutes, I let myself lean against a brick building and hyperventilate. He told me which bench to find him on, but I would have known him anyway when I see very long legs sticking out and a moppy brown head bent over a book.

The Tech Giant

Traffic on the FDR


FDR“Places remember what people forget.”
Richard Powers 

Instead of speaking, we eat peanuts in the Holland Tunnel: the unshelled, lightly roasted kind from the bulk section of our grocery store. With one hand on the steering wheel, my father takes handfuls from the top, since all the salt falls to the bottom, and my mother digs for those. Outside, the tunnel tiles blur as our Subaru speeds beneath the river and all the buried foundations of New York. 

Traffic on the FDR

Ascendant Scorpio

Translated by HUGO DOS SANTOS


                                                                            for José

On the night Billy Ray was born
(New York, 28th and 7th)
not one soul contemplated the geraniums
There was, however, the sound of the world falling
like multiple stalactites
in the area surrounding the hospital

Ascendant Scorpio

Home Below Sea Level



Broad Channel, Queens, New York

I grew up on an island called Broad Channel in southern Queens that was at or below sea level, depending on the tide. My dad’s house was one that was high and dry. We lived on Cross Bay Boulevard, the main street which ran down the spine of our croissant-shaped island. The boulevard only flooded during hurricanes or nor’easters that came on the full or the new moon. In some of the lower streets in the town, kids would show up late to school because they had to wait for the tide to go out before they could step out of their homes. Often, the high tide water flooded their blocks.

Home Below Sea Level

March 2020 Poetry Feature: Frances Richey

Please welcome poet FRANCES RICHEY to our pages.


—The Times Square Hotel

—After the Diagnosis

Frances Richey is the author of two poetry collections: The Warrior (Viking Penguin 2008), The Burning Point (White Pine Press 2004), and the chapbook, Voices of the Guard (Clackamas Community College 2010). She teaches an on-going poetry writing class at Himan Brown Senior Program at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, and she is the poetry editor for upstreet Literary Magazine. She was poetry editor for Bellevue Literary Review from 2004-2008. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from: The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Plume, Gulf Coast, Salmagundi, Salamander, Blackbird, River Styx, and Woman’s Day, and her poems have been featured on NPR, PBS NewsHour and Verse Daily. Most recently she was a finalist for The National Poetry Series for her manuscript, “On The Way Here.” She lives in New York City.

March 2020 Poetry Feature: Frances Richey

Intimations and Mercy, a Letter from the Bronx


Image of book cover

“Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room,” I intoned solemnly when things were normal back in the BC days (Before COVID). “In truth the prison, unto which we doom/Ourselves; no prison is.” I winked at my “Forms in Poetry” class to let them know I felt their pain. It turned out to be our last face-to-face meeting for the semester. We were studying the sonnet and I’ve always used William Wordsworth’s love poem to strict forms as a pep talk for beginning prosodists. “And hence for me,/In sundry moods, ‘twas pastime to be bound/Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground.”

Easy for you to say, I tell my three-weeks-ago self. I had no idea what was about to hit us. I’ll bet my shrinking TIAA stash that you didn’t either.

Intimations and Mercy, a Letter from the Bronx



A rose

In his thirty years of work in publishing, my grandfather never once revealed to his colleagues he was gay. Doing so could have cost him his job as a children’s book editor at a prestigious house, or at the very least, his reputation as an honest, hard-working family man. It took me only ten minutes, in a phone interview with the same publishing house, to accidentally out him. 


Review: Hurtling in the Same Direction – At Home in the New World



Cover of At Home in the New World

Maria Terrone’s grandparents were among the estimated nine million people who emigrated from Italy between 1881 and 1927. While her parents were born in the United States, her connection to Italy is deep, informing her identity and experiences as much as being a lifelong New Yorker has.

Review: Hurtling in the Same Direction – At Home in the New World

Essential Summer Reads 2019

With July well underway, we’ve put together a list of transportive pieces that encapsulate the spirit of summer—the dust above the country roads, the coolness of the waterfronts, the anticipation of autumn, and of course, the sticky, melting sweetness of ice cream. Take a trip through space and time with these summery selections.


Essential Summer Reads 2019