At the crossing of Madison Avenue
and 42nd Street, you can see, east
and west, the Hudson. On Brooklyn Bridge,
three Hispanic girls sell mineral water.
An Asian man sleeps on the A Train between
Washington Square and Columbus Circle.
Down Fifth Avenue, from Central Park East
to St Patrick’s, the black top is obscured
by constant yellow cabs. From the Empire State
the land stretches for days and days. All roads
lead here – to the template of the gridiron
cities of this imperial republic.
Who would not, in the known world, have some
notion of this Rome? It is the power
that enhances, corrupts. Its ruins are