Grit: The Resilience of New Yorkers – Kathleen A. Lawrence

From beneath the craggy concrete Bronx
sidewalks grow gritty New Yorkers
legs like roots of oak and tendrils shoot
toward the rough facades of shingles, rock
gravel and people that fill the streets of Queens
city royalty with cement coursing
through our veins carrying young
centennials with arms strong
like street signs bracing steadfast
our sturdy backs like cinder blocks
tight with the adhesive of generations
our spines straight like steel
girders soaring toward daylight moon
in glittering stone, marble, and metal
that is Manhattan, that is us
keen with our kaleidoscope eyes
crystal and clear seeking light
careening down canyons of brick
and Brooklyn blue tomorrows
while minds steady with iron beams
brave like the subway car charging
through dark, underground tunnels
strong we stand mortared together
looking over islands Ellis, Staten, and Long
from our perch above our grout city
nailed with courage, nerve and brass tacks
soldered like high-rise construction crews
always looking up ever higher, sky dancing
where sun continues raining amber
droplets on ebony macadam of fifth
sprinkling on emerald waves of Central Park
drizzling sunshine on amethyst umbrellas
scurrying uptown and azure skies downtown
as Broadway marquees, mud puddles,
steam grates, breaking dawn, midnight stars
always lighting our city alive, we will not sleep.

Kathleen LawrenceKathleen A. Lawrence has published poems in Rattle’s “Poets Respond,” Eye to the Telescope, Scryptic, Parody Poetry Journal, New Verse News, Rosebud Magazine, and Undertow Tanka Review. Recently two poems were nominated for 2017 Best of the Net, while another was nominated for a 2017 Rhysling Award from the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA).