The City that Never Stops Giving by Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay Nashville Youth Poet Laureate
The city never stops giving
on the corner of 6th and Broadway
where downtown traffic is a harrowing
consistency, when the light turns green,
it doesn’t always mean go.
Where Roy Orbison wrote “Oh Pretty Woman,”
emboldened by the femme of mercy
below his apartment balcony
where tourists and the music
leave a warm taste of affinity,
by the Starbucks in the Renaissance
that snags money from teenagers
who rendezvous before school.
They never spell my name right
on the little cups filled with magic.
From this crosswalk, electricity ripples
through the crooked streets of the city.
The paths of headlights mature into veins
of a breathing atmosphere.
The wait is forgiving, and when
we don’t like what we see and
all significance is lost, we turn
around softly and walk the other way.
A newfangled story in a blink and a sigh,
blinkers signaling a right turn,
people staring straight ahead,
headlong into the bright eyes
of a symmetrical world. So begins
the journey across the black and white,
when everyone becomes familiar
and nothing feels strange. Every step
falls into the heartbeats of a million
lonely people, and when the crosswalk ends,
so does another chance encounter
with a supreme stranger that you
never would have otherwise met—
a James, a Taylor, a small life changer,
the old love of a never ending family
meets the new love of a never ending home,
and the city never stops giving.