I spent four days in New York City
That was seven years ago
Those who were there with me
Remember the awe, the thrill, the liveliness
Instead, I recall the suffocation and the grime

Nothing about the city is magical
Not when you grew up running with horses
And collapsing in pastures to watch clouds roll or stars twinkle
Instead, everything feels crowded, pushy, and selfish

The lights turned day into night and
The stars stayed hidden away
My peers were excited to shop and be photographed
With none other than Lady Liberty
I have the same photo
A friend’s mother insisted on taking it
But it doesn’t speak of freedom
Or America
Not like the old Yankee Stadium did

A traitor in my Sox cap, I walked
The warning track
Feeling out-of-place but at home
All at once
And without apology
To the pinstripes all around

That was seven years ago
A new teenager trying to look past the darkness
Of the brightest city on the map
Still I smiled and took photographs
Because I’d begged to travel there
That was the first time I’d felt like a tourist
No one told me I didn’t have to like it


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