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A Night in Brooklyn

  • Brooklyn was my first home when I arrived in New York. There's something about this city that still sparkles and shines like the first day I met it—being enamored of the subway system, the ebb and flow of bodies in transit, and the juxtaposition of being so public and yet so private. My most creative time tends to be during the small hours of the night and Nurkse's poem reminded me so fondly of the summer nights so damp you could drink them—a time when the city, despite being so busy in the daytime, is quite still. Simple. Tender. 

    We undid a button,
    turned out the light,
    and in that narrow bed
    we built the great city—
    water towers, cisterns,
    hot asphalt roofs, parks,
    septic tanks, arterial roads,
    Canarsie, the intricate channels,
    the seacoast, underwater mountains,
    bluffs, islands, the next continent,
    using only the palms of our hands
    and the tips of our tongues, next
    we made darkness itself, by then
    it was time for dawn
    and we closed our eyes
    and counted to ourselves
    until the sun rose
    and we had to take it all to pieces
    for there could be only one Brooklyn.
    "A Night in Brooklyn"
    Dennis Nurkse

    "A Night in Brooklyn" was comissioned for the Five Borough Songbook in 2017. 

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