Falling Man In New York City ... A Poem



I'll live a few seconds more

as I plummet from the 57th floor.

How shall I use this time propitiously?

What plans make, thoughts think, what talk with god?

Shall I ask for wings, pray to hit an awning?

Or just hurl a scream, a curse

to the universe, try to brave the din

of bunching yellow cabs at rush hour?


Will I die in time to make the 6 o'clock news?


Do I dare to make a mess,

strew blood and kidney on the street,

untidy stew of brain and pink intestine,

layered juice and drool

veneering façade and limousine?

Appear in unseemly disarray,

attire far to casual for such display?


Pardon my intrusion on concerns of everyday,

car payments, rent, a sweetheart's infidelity.

May I take a moment of your time

to ooh and ahh, to gag perhaps,

click-cluck tongue, move on in arrogance,

live out your own brief string,

unknown plunging wild as me,

safe in illusion of security,

the measure of our velocity

allowing but one destiny?


Will I mash a poodle,

knock off a lady's hat with wildly flailing arms

that don't have lift enough

to stay me six inches from the ground,

then send me soaring high again

with a salmon taloned firmly in my toes?


Will I disrupt Salvation Army bands

at Christmas, cause yet another traffic jam,

just one more mound of human debris

to step over and around?

A tourist attraction of sorts

like Lennon's west-side death site,

Miranda ill-apprised of civil rights.


Julia Childs spends a lifetime chopping shallots

on TV, sautéing this and that...


How much time do I have left?

Can I go on? Should I go on

with idle speculation, chit-chat

when I'm so near the pavement?

Just passed three flags.

Here's the chestnut vendor.

Burned bagel smoke. God.


Copyright by Don Gray


Don Gray Art  •  Poems