Engines

Around the corner,
or whistling down the river
…—Stephen Sondheim

It starts with photos on the front page of the Times
Remember Giuliani with the holy men?
Well, today, another candidate has hats and beards
surrounding him. Hevesi is it? Maybe Green.
Ah, the primaries. The possibility of change
pervading skies of adamant cerulean

this morning over Vesey Street. Cerulean,
the coolest shade of blue. And there were several times
this weekend that I tuned in to impending change—
the news of an assassination, where two men
in Afghanistan who posed as journalists in green
and yellow mufti did the job. I saw his beard

and turban, this Massoud, the photo of the beards
and hats around him as they stood beneath cerulean
Afghan skies. Now, I’ll admit to being green
regarding Middle East affairs despite my Times
subscriptions (New York and Financial). But these men
affected me–somehow the news suggested change

beyond their bleak Afghanistan. The theme of change
had surfaced Saturday—“Russ Tamblyn!!? Where’s the beard?!
I shouted, watching West Side Story. All the men
in Sharks and Jets were sliding through the high cerulean
rooftops. And I shouted to my daughter every time
the camera panned and pointed down toward Bowling Green,

What’s missing?” Technicolor slid across the screen
into the harbor. “How about the Towers, Em! Some changes
since they filmed this in the ‘60s!” “Heady times,”

she quipped.

This morning as I ponder hats and beards,
the candidates and Afghans fighters, a cerulean
canopy unfolds above the plaza. Men

and women glide in countervailing currents, men
and women moving to and from the towers. Green
and yellow banners gently sway in the cerulean
light in which the engines haven’t faded. Change
is revving engines to a pillow punch, a beard
of contrails on the face of fire. End of Times

meet Genesis. The Times will count the firemen.
And I will start a winter beard. Tomorrow. Green
will change to red against the cold cerulean sky.

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