The City That I Love

Written by: Mike Butler

I decided to drive through the city today 
Instead of the freeway.  And,

I still remember when we first met.  
It was like receiving my little red bike under the tree
so long ago. The excitement of something so new, 
so shiny.  I was just so impatient to take you out 
and tour your beautiful boulevards, striving to
explore every block of you—one by one.
You were a skyscraper that reached so high 
that you ripped the very fabric of my sky 
and spilled fortunate stars like 
glitter on my existence. 
The rain never came. And, I felt it never could. 
I would just hold you like a crane—breathless. 
All those delirious nights that lasted ‘til dawn.  
And the laughter, think back how we laughed, 
out loud, that it would echo through the alleys 
and above to places the pavement couldn’t reach.  
My mouth got wet with just a whisper 
of your name on my breath. And I gorged, 
oh how I gorged at the restaurants of
your soul until there was no room left and 
I was ripe and plump for the picking.  
All the boroughs of you,  
I thought, would never stop growing.

Now, the constant sun (that used to be there) 
can barely break the fog from your buildings and
beyond. When did your sky turn into a sponge of 
liquid silt that I squeezed and squished
over my head—constantly?  It feels like I never
have an umbrella anymore. The roads got 
rougher and the cracks grew into fissures 
in need of desperate repair. Some, 
beyond repair.  Where did it all go?
Time can be so careless and relentless.  
You have been torn down and rebuilt 
in my mind, many, many times
to unrecognizable sizes. 
It all just got confusing and crowded, right? 
We saw all the signs and signals
steering us in the wrong direction.
But, we journeyed on,
slowly—never surely.  
The whole thing, everything, now,
just looks like the homeless from the 
thoughtlessness and neglect of it all.  
It was just red light after red light.

I saw our favorite restaurant, 
still standing on our favorite corner.  
And at that moment, I remembered, how much

I still love you.