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Edwin Denby reads The Climate and People on Sunday


I myself like the climate of New York
I see it in the air up between the street
You use a worn-down cafeteria fork
But the climate you don’t use stays fresh and neat.
Even we people who walk about in it
We have to submit to wear too, get muddy
Air keeps changing but the nose ceases to fit
And sleekness is used up, and the end’s shoddy.
Monday, you’re down; Tuesday, dying seems a fuss
An adult looks new in the weather’s motion
The sky is in the streets with the trucks and us,
Stands awhile, then lifts across land and ocean.
We can take it for granted that here we’re home
In our record climate I look pleased or glum.


In the street young men play ball, else in fresh shirts
Expect a girl, bums sit quietly soused in house-doors,
Girls in dresses walk looking ahead, a car starts
As the light clicks, and Greeks laugh in cafes upstairs.

Sundays the long asphalt looks dead like a beach
The heat lies on New York the size of the city
The season keeps moving through and out of reach
And people left in the kitchen are a little flighty.

Look at all the noises we make for one another
Like: shake cake bake take, or: ton gun run fun,
Like: the weather, the system, the picture of his brother,
And: shake hands and leave and look at the sun go down.

One Sunday a day-old baby looked right at my eyes
And turned its head away without the least surprise.

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Photo by Peter Hujar


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