Alejandro Juárez Crawford


Do you ever wish to cancel out
the spectrum of sound, 
and exist in binaural wonder?
Gut the patina in order
to recognize the neighborhood again?

Have you thought to pluck out both cold eyes
with a flick of the wrist
and grow new, softer, deeper ones;

tear a hole in the chain-link fence,
widen its ripped flesh,
and shimmy your way through it
to the strange dangerous wilderness
behind the playground at 99th Street?

Have you longed to venture up the little hill
to the thin black mall
with its strip of ancient grass
and sun-browned wall
separating it from the highway
and the planes above the Hudson?

Pump Needle

These planes that flew over the river
were a symbol of comfort for us.
We might have lost the air from our football
after too many run-ins with shards of glass,
and, lacking a pump and needle,
had to stop our game,
stuck without that pin of stainless steel
which to replace
required a trip downtown.

We might have had a battle
over some unfairness in the rules
that left me tired and mad that I’d lost the game;
or I might have felt the shapeless grief of dusk,
the grief of sirens and ice cream trucks
that hung in the air like branches
at the time of night when green returns to blue.