“Welcome,” she smiles, as dusk sabotages the light,
“to the city, my city, that lies awake through the night.”
Street vendors quarrel and taxi horns beep,
neglectful of the fact that I’m trying to sleep.
It’s almost as if they don’t know or can’t guess
that a jet-laggy tourist is trying to rest.
Alas, I roll over and again try to doze.
Sirens sound. Fine, I’m up, on with the clothes.
Down in the lift, thirty-three floors we go
and out into the night, onto the subway below.
A busker screams abhorrence for the English and me
whilst sipping from a flask engraved in bold: Whittard’s tea.
Irony provokes a snort, into the tin can I run
and ride to 42nd street; Times Square here I come!
With my head tilted upwards, I’m blinded by the lights,
I’ve fallen onto Batman – yes Batman, leotard – tights.
Now night’s dark cloak is punctured by flash after flash after flash,
illuminating the city for tourists, who click and click as they dash
between subway and store, between Mott Street and fourth,
and still Lady Liberty stands;
observing it all, from her pedestal tall,
with a smile and a torch in her hand.