City Lights


  • Life

    City Lights

    City lights, another word, another world,

    Dressed up high-rise fashion plates,

    We are users, all of us, who walk the city,

    Lights, like words, illumine us, illumine them,

    Creating pink and deep brown shadows

    Where night hawks never fly.


    Streets of red and green, soon vagrant yellow,

    Start and stop and can’t decide:

    Will the storefronts turn us on?

    Will we enter their domain?

    Will we choose white, after all?

    Or has the winking, hypnotized?


    Signs seduce us, sex in public,

    Carnal knowledge scruples trading,

    Billboard roadside, sorting puffery,

    No virtue left to thus atone,

    We are naked, stripped quite naked,

    Hues fade out, and we’re alone.


    Message, message, meta-message,

    Can you read the brash intent

    Of the shifting, pressing glare,

    And not just shrivel and grow small?

    For lights will strip you of your honor

    If you neglect the hidden stars.


    Spotlights, limelights, start at twilight,

    Searchlights, stop lights, redlights, too,

    Neon, halide, incadescent, losing,

    Watch, lest lights do that to you.

    Dim lights, bold looks, sleight of hand, 

    City magic just ignores the moon.


    Let the grid go dark, let elevators freeze,

    Let lights fail, and we may discover 

    Uptown for what it really is:

    Addicted, co-dependent, alien,

    Lying bleak, morose, and soon asleep,

    ‘Neath the waking irredescent sky.

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    Mareann commented on City Lights


    I do enjoy the light shows from time to time myself, but at heart, I'm a country girl... the best light show of all is star gazing, and the further we are from the city, the better the show.... Loved your poem Harver, great choice of words.... Mary



    Thanks for your oh so gentle critique. Harv



    Oh gosh you are so welcome Harver, a pleasure to read your work as always..... Mary

    ginga commented on City Lights


    Harver, I never really thought about the city stripped down to its core the way this poem has revealed its barest essence. I love the fantastic imagery and word choices that jump out into the city. My faves await this raw and cynical one. ginga



    I was thinking how lights have been used mostly for the betterment of humankind, but partly from reading a recent National Geographic article about the negative influence of too much light at night, and partly from a quote attributed to Christ that avers, "You are the light of the world," I saw an ironic moment to portray.Thanks for your appreciative critique. HT

    alreedus commented on City Lights


    You describe colorful chaos before dawn expertly. Let the stars shine on city life when the grid goes blank. Cool write. Imagery is great - height of conceit :-) Excellent piece. Thank you. -Alan



    I have lived in the city and taken audit of what it has done to me. I've returned to my country roots. But the lights still allure me at times. HT

    Poetry is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality.

    T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-English poet and playwright.

    HarverTomsson’s Poems (107)

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