that existed before the world was created.
There is compelling evidence that God
was manufactured in New York, strung together
of bridge struts, exhaust, furious sounds, dim sum,
and concrete (for endurance). Thus created,
he walked through these streets both born and reborn,
resisted the temptations of whores, bankers
and artists, passed churches and synagogues,
mosques and temples, tilted his head questioning
and opted for a bottle of wine in Central Park.
Several children, recognizing him,
ran up to coax the more profound answers
from his lips: What is blood? Do you pray at night?
Can you make it snow? They laughed at his clothing
and tugged on his robes made of light. New York
is not a city you can know from the outside.
To pack for this place is to presume one can
bring anything to it. The contents of my
luggage are strangely anonymous; upon
close inspection one would miss the stray hair
of a lovely woman, the memories, the
quantum particles that hitched rides from
prior destinations and dreams. I am
notorious for over-packing and so
reduce the collection to the barest
essentials: A book, these sentences, the razor
that daily reshapes my image, the shirt that
clings to my skin, the buttons and the fingers
upon them. Each thing I pack is a part of you.
—Martin A. Bartels