East Village Fugue
Some have passion and
Dreams in their hearts
That weave in and out
Beyond the edges
Of small places
Their dreams may be only words to some
But to them they mean everything.
Just as young,
With no plans
And never a second thought.
The dreamers and the aimless
In the East Village
Center of the counterculture in New York
Birthplace of artistic movements
The Nuyorican literary movement
Site of protests and riots
A place of coffee shops and smart pubs
Hidden inside tenements and dank basements.
And every corner busy.
The older residents
Are immune to the antics of this place
Living in the neighborhood for decades
They have witnessed its many changes
Speaking a hundred different languages,
Accents from the cold climate
Of Eastern Europe
And warm places in the Islands,
Theirs is a smaller world of
And open air markets
Still haggle over prices.
In dark places
Painted over decades of neglect
Old Polish ladies silently pray
In empty Catholic Churches
Built over a hundred years ago.
By Fall the last Summer’s batch of young leave
Some with promises
Others with regrets
But if there is a regularity
To the ebb and flow of this place
It is the tide
Always bringing in the new.
On Avenue A,
Just off Tompkins Square Park,
An old Spanish woman sits
In a doorway
Watching the artists, radicals and fashion lovers
Anyone who cares to listen
Will hear her sing
An old lullaby
"Close your eyes little ones and sleep
And dream while the angels watch over you
I will hold your hand
And when you wake up in the morning I’ll still be here."