In Search of an Umbrella in NYC Poem by Juan Felipe Herrera

In Search of an Umbrella in NYC

You were having a stroke - i
did not grasp what was going on you
standing almost half ways up half
ways down the colors what were they
i was frozen both us us staring
woman with parasol behind me
are you drunk she said facing
you and the deli behind you you
leaned shivered dropped your coat
reddish flowers
brain sweat eyes your eyes moving
seeing me behind me what
black man brown man no man no
colors you
pushed something away i was
in a rush en route to big time
poetry Biz duded up ironed shirt
the rain was in my way i was not
breathing you were losing yourself i
was gaining something you
stumbled out of your coat unrolled
a stranger's language from your lips
pushed your feet down to
the depths of the tiny sidewalk even
though it was infinite burning
ahead of me to
the food truck at the corner yellow chips
corn violet green sugar drops
fiery torn packs flaring down and
across the street under the cement i
was moving silent alone a crooked line
going nowhere a woman
touched your hand you were lying
on the dirty shoe ground swimming
up to her i wanted you
i was a man
running for cover from the waters
i could not lift your suffering
it was too late the current pulled
i was floating away (i noticed it)
were rising

Friday, April 24, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: sickness
Chuck Taylor 26 July 2019

You have to admire the honesty in this poem. The speaker sees a person on the street having a stroke. He walks away, headed somewhere to read his poetry to an audience, and does not help the person having the stroke. The poem suggests we should act better than the speaker, although we can understand he fear, his desire not to be involved. We should do differently and be the good Samaritan.

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Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera

Fowler, California / United states
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