kate schapira

Glass towers

Prologue: A certain walk abandoned in her
head till called for what made
her do it (mistake arrival for departure).
Reflect: a stranger winked at her in the
Metro -- no, the subway Ė sheís
never been anywhere. The persona is lost
and a girl and the city always strange.
A girl who comes along innocent each time.

1. Of the city: Here foundations that are secretly for being in love
use or
telescope the city for being in love. So much is ready for her. And
also not to be seen for what she is to be seen watching:

who has not felt it, who has fueled it. From interesting to spoken
in a rush of splits, sometimes inaccuracies, a lingering classroom
dynamic. It hasnít been long as if her impressions were of value/

should be printed. But can she find the sad stander in the picture?
You havenít gone in yet against the famous line as big or small as
she disrupts, disruption torques to compare self with size. Sounds

made by the letter J spread no change, stand no chance at the news
paper machine but tide her eye over. And yes her eye is shorthand.
And yes itís she that towers and colors the skyline / the first stop /

the last she wants. Is it any wonder. Her clear pallor as possessed
as the walk they told her; phone-booth stand-in for nighttime arc or
circuit, evening planet vague in the day and always white to emanate

in darkness. Pallor of winter sky in a romantic place or auditorium
ceiling marked by untimely additions. She pulled up in step / she
defined: fares and allotments. You to the city are as / the special

infused you: part of what makes a city seem and a girl able to be
foreign in it writing sweetly to the vestiges. Dream light spreads
toward the past, taking the city with it along one idea of the grid,

images of beautiful industry left over from the Ďthirties, many a
linguist built by having built none of it; she walks past remembering
her narration / printing the city around her, her prints shrinking. She

gleefully: who would believe it of her, yet contained. Since she thought
it has been a long time of you can see how it was done, then renewed: a
street rises sharply, informationally at 110th and the cathedral. No

reason not to triangulate. She is following. The city does well with
Her gazeís duration, eponymous landslips between Ďformí and Ďfromí
when sheís sick and sleepy. Direction is poor when you walk past not

moving your upper body. Every little city moment depending on the
day- or night-long wait for appearance next to a phone booth, that
quality of directed address and cross-street visible, every boarded-up

sixth floor prophet in itself, concentric / telescoping where were
quartered people who live in the city, she thinks as she goes, reinvents
with unfamiliarity. Comes in to change herself always with dark hair

rooted in the value of her perceptions, to self and others always -- an
old twist -- scared of her death. She still has the tape, complicated to
what she thinks of as your disappearance in spite of or because of the

smell of her skin which it produces. Sky between, toward the end,
verbal and pale like her. Know your narrator by refrain, helpful in
pointing and gnawing, overhearing screams. Watch what she observes

fail to become important. To be left anxious in one part describes her,
dates her horribly, the work of years, of the city proper to itself.
Lopped paths only a suggestion past a tower and the ghost of a tower

like a curtailed book written by an innocent in the city, that watched
feeling if she had it stopped at the corner: girl on her own a
strung like a signal. Itís a cold night if you can see nobody but an

out-of-towner in a bad part if she sees nobody. The towers sing as
though they would fall to pieces. When she looks she expects it to
center at her heels: got left where else but outside the sense of the

2. Sad fire
chief: The denizens have thought about it

Water purls past attention marked
by an orange cone fit to topple
intersects down from pressure
words in themselves to attend

If she forgets you
still have to remember
each building acquires timbre according
to its tenancy and plumbing

Can you see her from
forget or form a line a kind of
fingerprint acid preservative
where has been in this weather an otherwise

Hexagonal lock if youíre
water of queasy description
unknown horizontal quantities of least
resistance to traverse
cling to her your job
you are used but not lightly

Marked by wrappers and feathers in the stream
of continuous results through
the dry conductive cold to be
pumped and descend

Going on meanwhile using the resistance
and lack of resistance to refer
back to the her and the you, for her to use you
to write about leaving
and entering though not at the point

Named after a riparian plant / where it comes
from, where it goes but hasnít for years
parts of the building shut off
seeds of others float from
floor to floor through structural damage

while knowing the last stop on the pipe may
not help to the next
every meeting with municipal
water is chance

As you go through
sentences you made without it
inflated sense, current and plot calling
nothing but your department in
the middle of the night to rush

Each to her district perhaps
one person as a tool perhaps for distraction
big jobs accessible by ladder given
momentum not affixed by
plants or cleaned by their weave
drains past hunched dwellers their traces
of snow that proves
a rarity enough / she has been here
love all on her side how

It implies / distills
the city as if to exist the need
forgotten till she saw

You trained to look utilitarian stand
and wait to be sent out playing
the stationary cards of rescuer and rescued
the city and the ladder
trick crack in
hydrant about-face

Absolves herself of knowing
better personal filters on
the city supply at the wrong
end (arrival)
significant liquids
effluent getting
closer rushing to

The rescue of irresponsible
idiots / innocent victims
false alarm correspondent not
knowing not to mention towers
unidentified precipitate the distance
between tension and sediment dropped
in a puddle next to a phone

Difficult to assay through
one end of hose or pipe telescoping
sources but not causes in midstream
in case of responsibility that
calls from a booth beside
you in time while you wait

All stares are her obvious secret
clear of associations if by
associations falling

Plumes of air caused by differences
in temperature responsible
chalk into stories of urgency
a key word in the dark

Mostly she leans an excuse to
walk the city into her love story rounding
off corners usage of water in common

Foolishly repeats her first time in the city
heroic center at temperature
slick with prevention / solvent a
failure to show

Only if the hazard
completes you with its own ladder
you have no thoughts about heroes
full and empty like tanks

3. Grand
Central: To prove to a bystander that they
need her attention she
averts her eyes from subjects
reflection raises a longing never to leave or return
scrounge exotic time

Where can she buy a ticket. Trains run through the wetlands if by
remember she means being told. Colloquy of transport and stasis
into the city and between towers later, delusion of the hub around
here on all sides, eyes wide as her periphery as for a high-up

window conversion table
without double
checking the torque of a
faucet or tap at one end
turn away or differentiate between

waiting to be still and waiting to move. Sheís briefed herself; sheíd
pass a test administered by herself. On schedule, highly visible, doubts
that sheíll be found. Set up to her own helplessly at the crossings,
stepping over puddles to get to the brassbound hope that things will

happen more quickly after that
shine and be dim the fittings
glad to lose
yourself in leaning / waiting to
complete the call for yet another pendulum
grip, trunk and branch lines, still

pretending to escape direction. Dogmas chosen to rattle through and
produce pass her like trains, volume tracking in all the differences you
donít see / she sees fruitlessly when compared with cleaming twin
proof rising from your feet to the point, nights equally gleaming but

less marred by hours
merely to describe vigilance without having
seen conservation of specifics you
regret fitting one element of pipe
convulsed with passage apply
yourself to it
in what capacity but that
of standing, standing water

Let her never think of the key point of contact between ladder and
tower, responsibility and height. To relate is to be shaken here where
all walks become stories. No longer a location trying to gather itself
for the likes of her, clean yet she mourns authenticity, contemplative

spine against staircase profile
under the water
fountain tiers up left
over from an earlier
incarnation of report
among the rubble of visits having
renounced direction as inorganic
demands she be watched by
a similarity
of accounts and not know it

Itís the lean that gets you who have always spoken from rungs up, light
clear as skin whoís the expert. Even repeated warnings soften and echo,
injunctions off temple surfaces for that purpose. One booth much like
another if she disregards the escort. In line for a form of patience
informed by consequences but not built to sway, you know your job,

it was not you she saw
to write about when sheís not
there or not usually there to
be blamed and not the environs
her fault was readying the
city for use by getting on
a train with destinations

the hidden meaning of arrival rooted in air. No one has ever in time to
miss the chance to escape from the wreckage of sight, the revamped
version a stranger would come to hear: multiple observed deaths, the
classification of sheens on building materials between you and the
city. To thin out the herd as only temperature can do, as if her semi-
conscious were their itinerary. You may imagine she had her departure

framed and fabled for cold
no word for
innocent / unmarked by

the synthesis of erratic motion and waiting patiently. Equipped to
see by virtue of pale gloss overhead, the color of the end of the street.
Because she is not one of them she thinks herself unprotected in

lozenges of fading light.

4. Tell me,
Princess: Ultimately if your function
is to take the train in, why do you use their
faces for your ladder
up the side of your notion of yourself in the city?
You have your subjects
backwards and first of all not yours. Item:

They donít see you.
Item: Youíre being addressed, not as you have
been but for once. Item:
the deep freeze which causes an educated
departure, oh,
Your Highness, itís changed, now itís you,

tourist of faces, ocular
parasite. The function of ruling is to be looked
at directly; you couldnít
think yourself unwatched passing between
yourself as you were
raised, putting the people to great expense.

Now that the switch has
come about, if a high current were to go
through would you
recognize it? Under conditions? Tabulated as far as
times go, where does it
stop? Sitting in a cleanly product keeping it

running, rancor for who
can afford to not like it: account for that.
To see without
comprehending / to use the grammar proper
to your station or
stops from the central point (not the center

itself). Address chanted
as if one tower were the alternative to
another. In architecture
a principle of allowance. Glass like water
is a liquid everyone
remembers: when youíre not watching them they

donít disappear. You
should be grateful the spills will dry up
later. Always a corner
in your vision to get around, not the corner itself or
the standing there -- if this
is an excuse to drag love into the city

itís still your
own if you get caught in it with no relation to what
you see when you
come here or when you leave for what suits
-- another name for
transportation. Bridle at that, shove paper down

the seat. Regal out
of fear you think the old addressee canít tell
seeing and being
seen earning your rescue throughout the city
safety lying in wait
for you. Itís called camouflage; heroes are brittle.

To talk about use and
love is to have been heard already by looking at
you. To be innocent is
to afford not to see. Is it any wonder the
glass towers are transparent
in spite of or because of your responses ordered

like so many dry cold
outlines of what you should have done, your wide
eyes as if they could
never be empty, eliminated as sources. Each in
the assembly of the city
what it has and they have in spite of being watched.





I love to wander around alone in cities.A recent trip into New York started me thinking that there is an element of irresponsibility in coming to a city as an uninvolved observer/innocent bystander and counting on protection for that innocence; there's an element of untruth, or deliberate forgetfulness, in imagining that in wandering around alone I (or anyone) can become uninvolved or innocent, free of the complex interlacing of privilege and deficiency that composes and conducts the city.Those elements are the ones to which this poem is exposed.

kate schapira lives, writes and teaches in the hudson valley.her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications.she teaches U.S. Women's History to incarcerated women (thanks to a grant from the american association of university women), and is working on her first novel.She stands for peace every week with the Women in Black.