Outside Looking in – by Tony Isaacs
Drawing back the curtains, the zero-cool edifices,
A baseball throw from my window,
Reveal themselves in all their full-frontal effrontery.
Monumental in size, now simply monuments.
Twentieth-century twin icons, capitalism writ large,
They bask like upstanding whales in the early morning sun,
Towering above the concourse and the people.
A geometric series of parallel lines reaching skyward.
A previous evening, I, a guest atop the North Tower,
Peered down on Big John* in the Upper Bay,
– A thumbnail can obliterate it from this height –
A mobile battering ram seaward-bound,
The American dream wrapped in an iron glove.
I ventured out on to the top of the tower,
And managed –
clinging to the rail –
To walk round the perimeter.
A previous evening, I, a spectator enclosed,
With elderly, Russian Jewish émigrés,
With Brits, with Mexicans, with Cubans,
Watch fireworks light up the sky,
And rejoice in America’s independence.
But on this sun-filled, blessed, early morning,
I spy a speck upon the skin,
A smudge perched 73 storeys up.
A cleaner of windows,
In space and in time,
Applying his cloth to rid the building of its dirt,
2,763 done …
To let the people inside see out,
… 19,0377 …
To let the people outside see in.
But at that height there won’t be, can’t be,
Other people outside looking in.
* USS John F Kennedy, aircraft carrier