Tag Archive: Alphabet City Manhattan

The 1

The pigeon mumbler
on East 12th Street
released his flock
at the same time
Papo’s kite took flight
resulting in tangled
echelon high above New York,
while I
on my fire escape
midway through 100
sun salutations got
caught in the fray
toppling 7 stories
to hard cement, dead
but for a moment exactly
as per the prophecy

Chagall 2016

P.S. L*>@ You Too

I’ve no hatches to batten
down and round I go

in a spin
dark funk

Goodnight to all along Battenkill
(frigging spellchecker never heard of the place nor the river)

How many pounds of flower
does it take to hold one down
and round I go

in a spin
some sort of voodoo
I take it

I gather
assemble all I can

we take us with us
by the tree on my count
let’s mark time briskly

we escape
one by

by two

slithering down
and around I’m gone

in a spin
merely light minutes

Chagall 2016


Down from Stuyvesant Town
a little bit up from the Boys Club

Where the bus lets you off
at Eleventh & A

About thirty feet above ground
my soul hangs suspended

I hover there to watch life pass
sweetly through a window frameless

A point of view timeless
as before is coincident now

Old city brick woven
in fire escapes

We’re once young stealing kisses
miles away at the southern tip

There the island goes dark
where two rivers meet

Alone at the point
amid too many crosswinds

Lean flat
lie back into the wall

Chagall 2015

In A Flat Across From The Park

chagall backdrop

On 10th between A and B
at the northern edge of the park
the buildings across
face southerly light

The expanse of Tompkins Square
cuts a vista there
unique for this part
of the city

In the movie
Love With The Proper Stranger
a sweet complicated love
between Steve McQueen
and Natalie Wood grows
each the stranger

The movie is filmed in ’63
before flower power
and the death
of the stars

a month after Camelot and Texas
but prior to Mekong
as a household word
and 10 years at least
before VCR

Natalie plays Angie
who works at Macy’s
with an apartment
there on 10th

In one scene
Rocky (Steve)
comes over
for dinner

The camera pans westward
from Avenue B
catches the southerly light just right
could be Paris for all we know

Captures that perfect day there
on the Lower East Side
before anyone knew
of Alphabet City
or of planes flying in
too low

People old then
are gone
even the young then
are gone
everyone alive then though
in award-winning
black and white

Angie and Rocky sup
Natalie looks fabulous in basic black
from the street outside
joyful screams come ringing in
children skating and punch-ball
in Tompkins Square Park
where everyday I would play
having grown up on 11th and A
maybe that’s me? – I would wonder

My Dad looks up
in bold relief
against the weave of patterned stone
that rims the park

He tightens the skate
and hands me the key
sits on the bench
with his paper

I soar over streets
in a rumble like surf
washes the sand away

Do a hard stop and turn
to face where I started
there’s Rocky walking away

Walks past my Dad
on the evergreen bench
and I pray it will stay this way

But it’s a world without Pause
or Rewind
and so the story flows
without any chance
of a second glance
only the promise
of a future showing

© Chagall, 2013


This was the very first post to Alphabet City in March.  We reissue it here as music set to poetry.  Sebastien and Chloe on vocals, along with the usual suspects playing behind them.  We are having fun here this wonderful April evening outside of NYC, 2013, planet Earth; hope you are doing the same.

I'm a wire thin warrior on rooftops in starlight.
Red-shifted from eons up alleys, down fire escapes.
Black and white flickers from Telstar,
from before the flood, but after the mad dash.

Back in the day, on Eleventh and A, 
who knew we were in Alphabet City?

Or that Twelfth and D would be the place to be?

On Tenth and First we'd quench our thirst
with piragüa in July, coquito in June,
from the little man with the blue pushcart 
and the green balloon.

So much love, so much heart, so sweet, 
so right, see you 
on the corner tonight.

Oyeme mulata!
Che che colé, 
que bueno e'?

Chicheme, March 2013
© Carlos Chagall, April 2013
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