And I had contemplated the towers' floor by floor
Ascent, a postwar symbol of extra-military
Triumph, material and pop culture scoring where
Napalm, exfoliants and M-16s had failed.
So empire might not seem passé, tired Unity bowed
And underwrote a new production, Concept Two,
The male North Tower sporting its TV broadcast mast,
The female South, an observation deck for tourists.
A few floors down, designer restaurant, entitled
Windows on the World: Where better celebrate
The publication of a poet's debut volume?
One, we liked back then to patronize posh venues;
Two, a comment on its blue and orange jacket
Had called the book "a new window onto the world."
Consolation for not being rated the latest star—
A Seidman, Burkhart, Jordan, Piercy, or Blackburn—
It mostly worked, though befriending envy sometimes hissed,
Those years I spent cooling my heels outside fame's shortlist.
But not that day. From our table on floor 107,
I heard the City sing its psalm, high windows framing
Brooklyn and Verazzano bridges, the Woolworth Building,
Five high-rise mirrored boxes, Liberty, and the Harbor.
On top of the world, bask, green bardlet, in those spacious
Skies, don't aim your telephoto lens at the future.
Where you'd see you, weathered, silvered, skipping farewell
Glances at a town three decades your home base.
For fame, whatever else it's not or doesn't do,
At least pays bills, the scrape and cramp that youth can finesse
Costing the veteran pain, angst, and sleeplessness.
Advanced degrees in urbanity packed up, July