Thursday, November 15, 2007

What Manhattan Ate

John Ruskin, praising the irrationality of Gothic architecture:
“It not only dared, but delighted in, the infringement of every servile principle.”

It’s interesting to love a city whose deep soul
is mercantile. You'd think it would be far less than
worthwhile. But pragmatism aimed at commerce
taken to extremes results in gleaming fundament –

as pure as virgin hydrogen, from which we all derive.
It represents a final siphoning, condensing into surety,
that keeps each New York creature so alive. Pace,
Mr. Ruskin: not for us a beauty undetermined by

the lust for conquering, and lording into dollared sense,
and gain and loss, and showing who is boss: determining
servility is our supreme and guiding goal. We click
together in a varied symbiotic and unprecedented

you're-down/I'm-up/I'm-down/you're-up whole. Nothing
less will do. Today I am what New York City spreads
on you – like pricey jam on artisan-baked bread –
like fate. All I want to be is what Manhattan ate.


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