Walking through the New York Times Square,
I’m utterly in touch with the drama of this space.
A curious dog from a small balcony
Is barking to the crowds that have morphed into ghosts
And now sit around in circles to listen to the beat of spectral drums.
Their fine-tuned acoustics send bass notes of “‘bang”
Every time another human has reached the entrance of the bridge to heaven.
I pass them, still their music rumbling through my soul
In my way to the stump of the Three of Hope.
I’m going to rub its surface asking that a mother will go back to her children,
Asking that the daughter whom I had to zoom last night will see her father again,
Asking for a new choreography in my ward,
That would replace the sad with happy endings.
I walk, thoughts flood my mind,
I feel alone ….I don’t want to be alone.
How can I cross from socially distance to socially intimate?
I stop thinking about physical nearness as the image of the ghosts gathered to listen to the drum’s concert sends shivers through my spine.
I think about the stump of the Three of Hope and speed up my steps,
If I could only save that mother for her children,
If only that father would go back home to his daughter..
I wrote this poem a few months ago. It is about a doctor in NYC, when the city was in the middle of the pandemic. The Three of Hope actually exists in NYC. And there is a story behind it……
During the 1920s and 1930s, Seventh Avenue in the 130s was nicknamed the Boulevard of Dreams, a stretch of Harlem lined with top theaters and clubs such as the Lafayette Theater and Connie’s Inn. Between these venues was a lone elm tree (see it above) known as the Tree of Hope, bringing good luck to any up-and-coming entertainer who touched it before hitting the stage—as Fletcher Henderson, Ethel Waters, Eubie Blake, and others did.
The tree didn’t last, it was chopped down in 1934. When the tree was cut down in 1934 during the expansion of 7th Avenue, it was cut into logs and sold as souvenirs. A second tree was soon planted but that too met the ax.
Instead of it now there is a plaque, to remind of the place where the Three of Hope once was.
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