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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Doty
Mark Doty
Born on August 10, 1953, Mark Doty is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which received the 2008 National Book Award...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Buildings
Architecture Moraine
by Joanna Fuhrman
Block City
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Cape Coast Castle
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Glass House
by Heather McHugh
Notes on a Visit to Le Tuc D'Audoubert
by Clayton Eshleman
Skyscraper
by Matt Rasmussen
Steps
by Grace Schulman
The Barcelona Inside Me
by Robin Becker
The Parallel Cathedral
by Tom Sleigh
The Starlings
by Jesper Svenbro
Water Picture
by May Swenson
Pockets
A Sock Is a Pocket for Your Toes [excerpt]
by Elizabeth Garton Scanlon
At the Playground, Singing for Psychiatric Outpatients
by Peter Everwine
At the Public Market Museum: Charleston, South Carolina
by Jane Kenyon
Blankets of Bark
by Sherwin Bitsui
Chaplinesque
by Hart Crane
Go Greyhound
by Bob Hicok
Gospel
by Philip Levine
Inventing Father In Las Vegas
by Lynn Emanuel
Pockets
by Howard Nemerov
Regarding Chainsaws
by Hayden Carruth
The Waltz We Were Born For
by Walt McDonald
Two Countries
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Poems about Poetry
Epistles, Book II, Ars Poetica
by Horace
Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
A Book Of Music
by Jack Spicer
A True Poem
by Lloyd Schwartz
Adam's Curse
by W. B. Yeats, read by James Wright
Always on the Train
by Ruth Stone
Ars Poetica
by Archibald MacLeish
Ars Poetica (cocoons)
by Dana Levin
Arthur's Anthology of English Poetry
by Laurence Lerner
Because You Asked about the Line Between Prose and Poetry
by Howard Nemerov
Blue or Green
by James Galvin
Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks
by Jane Kenyon
Diving into the Wreck
by Adrienne Rich, read by Anne Waldman
Endnote
by Hayden Carruth
Envoi
by William Meredith
Ground Swell
by Mark Jarman
How to Read a Poem: Beginner's Manual
by Pamela Spiro Wagner
If It All Went Up in Smoke
by George Oppen
Languages
by Carl Sandburg
O Black and Unknown Bards
by James Weldon Johnson
Poet's Work
by Lorine Niedecker
Poetry
by Marianne Moore
Prefix: Finding the measure
by Robert Kelly
Speech Alone
by Jean Follain
Take the I Out
by Sharon Olds
Teaching the Ape to Write Poems
by James Tate
The Art of Poetry [excerpt]
by Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
The Bear
by Galway Kinnell
The Composition of the Text
by Adriano Spatola
The Difference between a Child and a Poem
by Michael Blumenthal
The Indications [excerpt]
by Walt Whitman
The Poem as Mask
by Muriel Rukeyser
The Poems I Have Not Written
by John Brehm
The Uses of Poetry
by William Carlos Williams
This Bridge, Like Poetry, is Vertigo
by Marie Ponsot
What He Thought
by Heather McHugh
Workshop
by Billy Collins
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Broadway

 
by Mark Doty

Under Grand Central's tattered vault
  --maybe half a dozen electric stars still lit--
    one saxophone blew, and a sheer black scrim

billowed over some minor constellation
  under repair. Then, on Broadway, red wings
    in a storefront tableau, lustrous, the live macaws

preening, beaks opening and closing
  like those animated knives that unfold all night
    in jewelers' windows. For sale,

glass eyes turned outward toward the rain,
  the birds lined up like the endless flowers
    and cheap gems, the makeshift tables

of secondhand magazines
  and shoes the hawkers eye
    while they shelter in the doorways of banks.

So many pockets and paper cups
  and hands reeled over the weight
    of that glittered pavement, and at 103rd

a woman reached to me across the wet roof
  of a stranger's car and said, I'm Carlotta,
    I'm hungry. She was only asking for change,

so I don't know why I took her hand.
  The rooftops were glowing above us,
    enormous, crystalline, a second city

lit from within. That night
  a man on the downtown local stood up
    and said, My name is Ezekiel,

I am a poet, and my poem this evening is called
  fall. He stood up straight
    to recite, a child reminded of his posture

by the gravity of his text, his hands
  hidden in the pockets of his coat.
    Love is protected, he said,

the way leaves are packed in snow,
   the rubies of fall. God is protecting
    the jewel of love for us.

He didn't ask for anything, but I gave him
  all the change left in my pocket,
    and the man beside me, impulsive, moved,

gave Ezekiel his watch.
  It wasn't an expensive watch,
    I don't even know if it worked,

but the poet started, then walked away
  as if so much good fortune
    must be hurried away from,

before anyone realizes it's a mistake.
  Carlotta, her stocking cap glazed
    like feathers in the rain,

under the radiant towers, the floodlit ramparts,
  must have wondered at my impulse to touch her,
    which was like touching myself,

the way your own hand feels when you hold it
  because you want to feel contained.
    She said, You get home safe now, you hear?

In the same way Ezekiel turned back
  to the benevolent stranger.
    I will write a poem for you tomorrow,

he said. The poem I will write will go like this:
  Our ancestors are replenishing
    the jewel of love for us.






From My Alexandria, published by University of Illinois Press. Copyright © 1993 by Mark Doty. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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