Under Bridges

The Sea of Troubles Hamlet spoke of

Is, in fact, a real place

And I have been stranded upon it

For the better part of a year,

Desperately seeking solid ground

And a remedy for madness.


Standing on a corner in Union Square

On a bright afternoon in August,

Frank O’Hara calls for poetical reform,

Handing out pamphlets about the oral sex

That goes on in the back rooms of the fraternity house.

Backed by a chorus of Hare Krishnas,

They sing their praises to the Hindu deities,

Who occupy their time observing human trivialities

From the skies above the South Asian communities

Of Queens.


Studying Kabbalah by lamplight,

High on its divine wisdom,

The elevated train zips past my window,

Dousing the room with flickers of illuminated holiness.

Sitting in tableau

In the apartment building across the way,

The tenants resemble the saints and apostles

Of a medieval manuscript.


O faraway Jerusalem,

With your maze of alleyways and twisting streets,

Procure for me a place within your holy city,

So that I may be assured eternal peace.


© Chester Sakamoto