29 Years Ago Today January 2, I moved to NYCJanuary 2, 2008
On this milestone of a day, I received the most beautiful gift. A letter written by Kim Puchir (The New Positive Exposure WEBSITE Designer) in collaboration with New York City herself. I am so blown away that I must share it with you…
Like a bird on a beast’s back I have carried you, gripping to my rough hide, since you alighted on me that January day long ago.
These 29 years you have been mine. I have softened your way with pigeon feathers. Mirrored your heart with brave trees. Rifled through your clothes with my impertinent winds. Emptied your pockets and filled your bookshelves with a fine dust, the silt of the city.
I have asked much from you.
Those who would see me must allow themselves to be blinded by all my facets. You must consent to the sun and moon as I dole them out to you between buildings. You have given up starry skies for nights with stars fallen into city, blinking to each other like fireflies still hopeful of receiving an answer. But in this Babel-town words never mean precisely the same thing. Like morning—revealed differently to 17th and 7th, 74th and Broadway, 145th and St. Nicholas. There are so many mornings here, each apartment with its own dawn signaled, perhaps, by steel shutters being thrown up, the music that is everywhere as it comes out of hiding behind the neighbor’s wall, a sliver of light, or by buses lumbering by with their reluctant sighs.
It is not easy for you to know me. Voluptuously I lounge in every shop window, dictating desires while setting glass between you and their fulfillment. You ignore my shrieking advertisements as if we were a couple in a stale relationship.
Though you leave, you still come back.
Come teeter at my river-edges while I smile at your eternal surprise that there is an end to my endlessness. Seek my grimy face just below the surface of the complacent waters, the way you scan the rivers of faces that flow before you every day. You have long since given up on knowing them all, so that eyes and noses, hair and skin, have become for you publicly palpable. Your eyes run over faces like fingers over a tree’s bark: it is a sensual stumble over an irregular texture. They form a mass at once elastic and preoccupied. Your own contours easily slip in. You’ve grown to love being lost.
And sometimes along that human current I float you a gift like a small boat. Like the time I sent you a face, one face that gave you all faces anew.
Happy Anniversary, rickgnyc. And many more.