New York

a poem by Jan Oskar Hansen

‘You have left it a bit late
going to New York
driving a laundry truck,
I think you’ll be better off going to Florida,’
the kind lady at the American embassy said
’But I have a dream
bought a street map,
know of a place called Bronx,
a friend of mine reads poetry by the subway’s
exist to cheer people up
as they are hastening to work.
The pay as a driver may not be good
but at least I got to do my own laundry for free’
She didn’t hear me.
‘If you don’t like Florida, go to New Mexico
I’ve got a brother there
and he’ll fix you up with a job Ok?’
A man in a blindingly white, starched shirt
and newly pressed suit appeared asked me
what I thought of the dictator in Iraq
‘Go get him’ I said
hoping to sound like John Wayne.
We both smiled broadly and shark like
as we swaggered down the embassy’s roman steps.