In Chicago, gentle capital of art,
in Millennium Park,
a stele shows faces from around
the city. Their time
is slowed; you must wait
for the impassive eye to wink, the smile
to part the enormous digitized lips,
and sometimes no expression comes.
They are the face, these faces,
not so much of Chicago as of art,
which keeps its own counsel, is alone,
whose time is not yours.
New York, however – it’s well known –
is devoted primarily to love,
not art. It shares the urgency of love,
its concern for gain and loss and cutting losses.
Often, which may mean twice a year
or hourly, lovers cross Times Square
to gaze up at the Ticker there
(vaster than NASDAQ’s MarketSite)
and wait, never for long,
until the vivid fleeting fractions
tell them how strong
their shares are. Decades
of holding hands and drinks and looking
out at the sea at the Hamptons
suggest stability; but some investors
learn the dog is cheating,
the bitch wants the house, the kid
will sponge and weep, the Gorgeous One
lately installed in the heart is bait for AIDS.
Out in the cold
and glancing round, they learn that any hope
may be depreciated, bundled, bought and sold.
Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. Other poems in print and online journals. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.