City Of Man

This city is built of man, paved in the histories
of the men who built its systems - from its dirt roads
to its sewers, each cobblestone an unmarked grave.  

Men who lay cables, concrete, foundations.
Men who sold pants and sandwiches
to the men who lay the skeleton of the city;

men who built storefronts for pants and sandwich shops,
but eyed something higher. What is a city
if not the strata of these stories

stacked in layers, brick by cellular brick
to build pyramids, then empires – corporate skyscrapers
of Babel that shine like the Golden Calf when they catch the sun.

© 2021 Jewish Young Professional


Written for The Sunday Muse


  1. The price of man’s determination and greed to build bigger, taller, and more, more, more has been tragically brought home by the dreadful fall of the structure in Surfside, Florida, where warnings were ignored, and many lost their lives.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You have built a magnificent poem here, layered in the triumphs and soils of man. All the many things that make up daily life, and also the big things that bring us truly down. I really love this poem my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh how we babel-on and on, enamored by our golden calves as we think ourselves gods, trying to reach the heavens with ever taller buildings. Excellent poem full of the wonders and dismays of our human ways.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Amazing. This poem is a building. It’s a stack of images, kind of like bricks. It’s a stack of man-ness – our structures as fallible as ourselves. It feels mournful and brave and kind of magical and beatified as well. A really stunning piece.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Sorry, JYP, I got your comment on my dVerse post but when I went to reply I must have hit something weird and your comment disappeared. 😦 No idea what happened. Anyway, thanks for the lovely comment. I found some very suitable glasses in an op shop today. They’re just what I wanted. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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