Baseball and Bagpipes, Short shorts and Jockstraps, Names v.s Names….

N.Y, Sunday morning
commuter bus from N.J
we wait to unload at the port authority.
on the bus,
an old warrior shouldering a satchel filled with baseball bats
stands at attention, eyes closed ready for the doors to open
his bats rise above his head, bag pipes
at the ready to march onto the field of
as we pop out of the bus and into the sunlight,
The N.Y Times building is in front – her lights turned out
reporters sleeping away any news that would require 3 sources.
when we drove through Baltimore a few days earlier,
we passed the Sun – “At the Baltimore Sun, God still resides in the details”…
and I wonder if any lights there, glow in 24 hour vigil.
on the sidewalks of N.Y, tour guides spread out panhandling their wares
offering you tours for the Empire
or the Statue, or this or that
they are unable to take ‘NO’ for an answer until you ask them,
‘what are your rates for F-Off tour at 10?’
only then, do they realize you’re not interested.
I find myself in search of the green newspaper stands,
hoping to buy a paper, a pulp mag but instead find only steel
bins selling grocery check out items by a man who has no
interest in learning your face.
fellow tourists pass by
they’re easy to spot, in clothing that challenges style
going for comfort – realize they’re the ones
who will shove you to the ground
wanting the privilege of being first in line.
the rest of the city walks by in casual summer wear
or short skirts or, short-shorts
-young girls trying to be women, moving as awkward as
baseball pitchers, adjusting jock straps before the big pitch
adjusting their rear ends, before crossing West 23rd.
through out the day you can’t help
but think,
Toronto seems busier or more claustrophobic.
you think of Yonge and Dundas
compare sidewalk and street – and say to yourself,
“it’s because it’s Sunday….”
then wave down a tour guide and ask which bus tour
offers the longest air conditioned show
tip them an extra five for their kindness
and apologize for that earlier retort, you didn’t really mean it,
N.Y just got in your blood
not the town you’ve experienced all day,
but the one you’ve grown up watching on television.
once seated,
the M.C starts his historical rhetoric and I
think about the bus tour in Washington,
“during the British invasion, troops were sent over
to burn down our Whitehouse in retaliation….”
Toronto crosses my mind once more
British Invaders……but we celebrate the longest un protected border
so, here in New York just as in Washington
I listen to the M.C
and learn how names become names
and how neighbourhoods form their own identities
leaving me once again to think about heritage,
Newark rather than Niagara, York rather than Toronto
home rather than home
N.Y leaving its mark.


About Crazy Irishman

Touted as a working man's poet, Martin Durkin has been writing professionally for the last 12 years. He has appeared in over twenty anthologies across North America, including, "And left a place to stand on", a collection of poems and essays about the late great Al Purdy. Durkin has also published two collections of poetry, "Hypnotic Childhood", and "The Sound of Quish". Over the past 4 years, Durkin has been on hiatus for the most part but has recently come back to the poetry scene creating a poetry site called, where in the past year he has written over 100 poems and created a cross over page on where he gives a story behind each of the pieces written. View all posts by Crazy Irishman

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