The city will never love you back

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I spent last week in New York for TED City 2.0. While at the conference, I was moved to tears by an amazing poem by Felice Belle, which somehow seemed to sum up everything I’ve ever felt about New York, LA, and every other city I’ve lived in. Here’s how it starts.

yours as much as mine
for walt whitman

thank you

for paved veins

the transit system of a living body

the city is man

made now concrete

asphalt fueled by caffeine,

commerce, nicotine, and childlike

dreams of making it

big like times

square lights over broadway,

steel scraping sky high

clouds cumulus say, go

higher, to the man in the crane,

woman with child standing,

third car uptown two train,

teen locked in bed-stuy

bedroom making beats,

will only take headphones off for shower and sleep

what lies beyond free

verse? what frontier is left?

follow the immigrants and the indigenous

even people from here

have come from somewhere else

there have always been legal ways to take land

You can read the entire piece here, but I recommend watching her read it here at 59:19.

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  • Gabriela Contreras

    Powerful poem. Thank you for sharing Alissa. At 59:19 on session 2.

  • Carren_Jao

    Beautiful poem. Thank you!

  • miguo

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  • xiaju

    http://choicegoods.org/

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