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Poems from from SKYLINE POEMS:   Angelus For The Flatiron    Carol For The Rock    Dirge Of The Empire State    Hymn Of The Chrysler Building    Madrigal Of The Bank....    The Twin Towers Canon    Vespers Of The Metropolitan Life


23-skiddoo is what they mean, and say,  
to men who lift their eyes that way, to skirts blown
high from the draft from that space. 5th and Broadway
is no place for a lady to stay. Alone,
in the shade the terra cotta made, is shown
lascivity unleashed. In the here and now,
where the end is nigh, I wandered lonely in
a crowd, and stood underneath the evening prow,

as the looks grew cool, in a Renaissant way,
and foresaw Revelation: my dress had blown
so high (in culture-abandoned artsy sway!),
and arched through the dream, in which Satan had shone,
the sun catalyzed by this architect's own
vision. Creation is the subject that now
occupies his Orpheus, this country, known
for its future. Stand beneath its steely prow

where this Gothos of limestone's illicit ways
make old Gotham's crush so uniquely its own
time and place; watch as this skyscraper parlays
the elegant loneliness of excellence
into Armageddon (I know not of ends-
save this!), and so I pray to the Virgin. How
I do not know, for such psalms have swiftly grown
into chorals of loss, that bequeath their prow

to the morrow, where reason is the final
straw, where women can rush, and not have to show
their best, in a gust, to strangers, whose looks cull
a crowd, glancing underneath this tower's prow.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

*for Thomas Cole, trois

                    "In his great rooms, the countries of the world
                                 ....how many candles guttered
                                                   -Homage To Karl Marx, Edwin Rolfe

The skater remembered. The skater denied
remembrance. The years deny her
a bit of herself. And that
which rises is the fountain
beyond her. She is the motion
beneath it all. She is Agassiz
and the glacier, or the blossom
through rusted foliage, invading
the moment of the man, and his time
is now, in the complex of steel
that shuttles all skyward,
in intimacies of stone, and flesh
denied. She is not alone.
He sees the swarm beneath the tree.
The search for form becomes the steel
Prometheus gathers above them all.
To deny them all he raises his hand
to deny the hand, and deny the man
the cloudless skies agree is his
to conquer, and surmount. Speculations
on humanity flow into this
cosmic place. A heap of stars,
and he below the surface of light,
for which there is no real reason
for, the light which echoes. From below
the skater, on a single leg
her other skate, points to a star,
above the chaos designing all design,
unnoticed as she. And Standard Oil
is the bar others ascend to,
frozen with why. The fire not far
away. The cries of gray birds,
under shady towers, become moraines
of a tunneled mind. And flame
defines the end he sees,
shapes the world about itself,
the body of a cracked, silent planet
becomes the separation that separates
beauty, pushing thought to place:
his is here. The skater's is there.
The voices that wither in liberty
are fragmented, and momentary;
an unbroken song of broken voices
history forgets. He draws the blinds.
The skater skates a figure eight
sound moves gracefully on.

  Refrain Of The RCA Building

            0, you flowering race of idiots
            which swells to the Promethean fire,
            glide quietly on your icy waters,
            and know your feelings were already felt
            before this cathedral became your world,
            which inspired all your sons and daughters
            to voice, in a dim-lit, freshen choir,
            the notes of a time a Titan forgets.

Snow rises- rushes- toward tall buildings,
those things which recede even as they crest
to a heaven he knows is only dreamt of.
And the skater skates on. The man,
again, at his window, is drawn
to the apex of youth in the underworld,
below his greatest embellishment,
which casts a tepid specter below,
where nothing ends. Nothing begins
without. He knows the sky is only
the sky. In spite of it all,
the pulsating eyes of a million eyes
which descry him the man, the lyrical
politics of Standard Oil, the game
he made art, the lives he destroyed,
he watches her, pursuing the circuit
on ice. The skater mixes motion
with his breath. He denies
the balance denying the weight.
of neither- this middle of time
which tenders attention is all
his time. The fountains caress
the waters to chorus, the bringer
of wisdom has gainful employment,
and broken lips which sing no songs
of the befoulment of ice, and familiar eyes
from a distant place above the perpetual
seasons of limestone, and death,
the way hesitant bells still reach
the tower. The endless motion,
the ceaseless still blankets
sifting motions below. The skater
remembered. The skater denied remembrance,
the lapse of dread playing within,
is resumed by the man. And the skater
breaks into elements of December.
Silence fogs in all hints of sound.

      You are the thing amongst things.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider

A video of this poem can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMvQ6ejqOo0&list=UUN5kTfj5u8XcTBg51Z65EKw 

                  DIRGE OF THE EMPIRE STATE

O, unsylvan megalith, imponent of some higher power
beyond the silences we dare not discover
in thrusts of mortality which scampers quickly
to the heavens, as if impelled by a divinity's shower,

below you they caper, the low ones- we who pray for the weakness
to let things be, but fail grandly; thus, you hover.
We, who love with the depth of the ordinary,
are slaves to your impress, your quintessence, for all of your peakness

is at once cause and destroyer of this ordure in which we bog
down our lives, fleet in the depths of cosmic dreamwrights
who are never the same, and who know that true love
is the nipple of mortals lost in the thick sargassus of smog

which you rent in your rise, wicked transcendence that forgets its start
in frail neurons which love riddled hearts and plain kites
that never fly to your heights, nor embrace the doves
of one adrift in Ozymandian nights which graph your steeled heart

immune- unlike us- to the beauty of peacoats on rainy nights,
or the membranous sunshine which breaks through the dun
you glory, as we age into ugly colors,
still dreaming of things that cannot dream, like the metropical heights

of the bridges which feed you your victims, nosferatued tower
filled of live flesh. Late in a dawdling eon
dreams are forgotten beneath spectacular stars
that profit not a cent from your worship. So, who has the power?

You, who- each night- point at the fractured cities of the galaxy
that denies you your place, as you do the small men
who crafted your movements, transcarnal as a dream?
Or they, who have dominion over whole worlds, not some dead city?

But, does it matter? Stars are just the angel dust of architects
which suck us skyward, low vile human vermin
you detest- as we should be- for only we ream
the blood of brothers. It is not you nor your shadow which infests

us- but the reverse. The exploded oxygen of breath thus hurled
us to your making, alone on this pale sickly
orb- this island earth- that harbors, masses into
you: we who are drawn to make a construct free to shake loose this world

visible and lonely- a bidet for the great wheel of pigeons
which arc ever so innocently, and quickly
swoop into the fray to feed on some remnant. Who
has the right to decry this existence's stark imprecisions?

We say it is you!- Shrine of the transsophic needs of the never
wills! High mistress of some lowered god whose center
is everywhere, and here within us- raw designs
of the starving class which knows only your grand masonic lever

is great enough to move this small planet, or any blue-green sphere:
that place within only visionaries enter,
for few grasp your vigor, fewer still share your mind's
span, which cracks open wide the distance between the when and the where,

for only one as you can contain the forgotten memories
of a self-forgotten race- love of this city
that you mock. I, too, indulge the fusions of gloom
for we all harbor such darkness. It is no disgrace to displease

a higher nature, as long as we realize we can leave it
behind- like a driven cripple does to pity-
and grasp for that within and without us. You bloom
against the sick majesty of that which was your being. The pit

is a witch whose basilisk stare stifles the centuries from you
who are eternal in this absence of absence
which swirls at your base. The constructed world awaits
wee dreamers: we who are drawn to your knell through the unending blue

you rise to- like prayers from the swamps that were without need to defend
against- for we are one with that which you dispense
over and again. I guess we all chart our fates:
Ours are brief heavens. Yours are worlds without end, worlds without end....

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider


The small boy, in the supererogatory city, had just left
the gongoristic movie palace, with his mother,
and walked by this seemingly endless space. Lit for miles,
the great gleaming idylled the restive night
of the child. As he glanced up the sky foretold
the inevitable drift of his eyes to the comingness
the weak peroxide of starshine evoking could not
dim his quest for all those things beyond, his eyes-
dry as old iron- were beskyed with a permanence
of first imagination. When he was younger,
he had heard the ancient tales of towered Tintagel,
the young King Arthur, Merlin and his twists of hate,
all the quests for things as honor, or love, or gold.
The stars are all this, he thought. With each step,
looking backward, he could see more and more clearly,
than ever before, the great refined hubcaps to Eternity
roll, his eyes could not lie, would not deny the raptors-
from the gargoyled bosom- their rise to the sky. Valhalla
is a modern place and Bifrost made of cable and steel.
The boy rejoices in the chill of late November, and Hoovervilles
unseen. Was it just a year ago, or a thousand years ago,
that the boy remembers shirt-free men, mighty
girderjacks, riding the wires and guiding the tideless
swells of rising beams? Last summer, he swore it was,
he saw the pliant enduring steelness of a manufactured dream
lean in to the curvous realm, break upward a thousand feet,
or more- for the first time- through the alleys
of sacral clouds to trespass that which can only fall,
as with the rains that restore divinity to the soil
where human hope began its inexorable skybound spindle,
where the renting gold domed its childish dares.
It was then that the boy first ramparted to this
walk past this place receding, only in to space,
his mother's hand pulling him, step-by-step,
from the drench of crapulent steel stoking the wheels
of internal architectures, wet new metals, his thoughts. Upvoking
moments of godliness reign from his gaze to the sidereal
plane of its supernal constructed spire:

                              0, we who suffer the vertigo
                                of culture, there are those times
                                  for nothingness, when the all remains....

And the boy resists, wee fingers slip
from the grip of femininity, and rushes toward
the tower- far above the earth inching toward disaster,
semen of the shaded coming, dark marching angel,
unpetaled ornament of an eclipsing star- golden,
it shines as the boy runs careless and carefree
in to the technopolized dawn, vocable as tomorrow,
its fugue denying life its place below, human flowers
of a used-up sun; an above world calls the excited
boy through the inhuman forests of concrete and loss
to the acetylene sparks of galactic peace and sleep
yet in contorment with the lolling clouds, softed
by the wintering breaths of elation portaled
in the frame-by-frame trope of the running child
lost. In the noctolucent glare time conflates
joy with destruction, the grand hymn of the morrow
pervades, and drowns out the useless screams
of the mother, as she watches her eternal baby
fall, this time struck by a '29 Plymouth,
ceaseless spawn of that which created this spire
damned, she rushes to embrace her child, invoking-
with eyes still arced upward- the savage tones
of a serenity she can never understand, overcoming him
as he glares into the heavens, swallowed by the din
of horns honking and sirens screaming, and humans milling
about the fallen little schemer, as the night
slowly rises, and rises to a height, whispered and random,
as carbonic dreams, where it does not really matter, anyway,
and if you listen real hard, you can still hear the music.

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider


There was never more fear in a child
than when he saw her gaze from the sixty-
ninth floor, dreaming she could see herself fly
with the birds. Never was the dream of flight,
itself, real- only of seeing herself
fly. As she drew closer to the window
some filament of knowing broke open,
her uncle grabbed her hand and asked of her,
"Why is it you always look around things?
I've noticed that- when we were at the zoo
you looked at the leopard's bowl of water
and not at the beast. And here, in the Crown
Jewel of Wall Street, and in its great spire
of green....and last week, at the gallery,
you asked me about the wood used to frame
that great painting by- I forget his name-
but you know what I mean."
                          "I do, Uncle,
and I can't explain it. I remember
seeing Miracle On 34th Street,
and thinking about how dumb the girl was-
just pulling his beard and all. So I thought
to myself 'How would someone go about
proving he's a fake?'- It's a bad movie,
by the way, and I don't recommend it."

"That's all well and good- er, or bad. I mean
to say it is odd for a girl your age
to be so incredulous. When I was
a boy buildings like this did not exist.
And airplanes and automobiles were new,
and we only had one- yes, only one-
telephone in my whole hometown. I know
times are changing- and all for the better-
still, it worries me now- especially after 
all of the things that have happened."

"Uncle- "
                       "I don't think you understand
what I mean."
                     "Then tell me."
                                           "I can't. I mean
I would if I could, but you don't know how-
with you being so old and all- "
four is not so old, Sweetheart. We all have
our mysteries, I s'pose. But how you stare
out far over the island. You don't think
of your life at my age, or what will pass
between then and now. What you comprehend
is some nowhere, alone- somehow endless,
and I lack the words to say it scares me
to think what you might- or must- be thinking."

She returned to the high window. At that
utterance he drew up close behind her,
and put his right hand on her right shoulder,
picking thoughts from eyes that he thought not his:
"There's no one to blame, y'know. Even God
grants Man the Free Will- or so I was told.
I remember how inconsolable
Esther was. But these things take time, Sweetie."

"Oh, but Uncle- I'm not sad- really, no!
Sometimes I'm angry- but not now. Beauty
is what I see when I see myself fly
with the birds. But it's not like with angels-
there's no Heaven, you know."

                                              "How can you say
that, child? I mean- "
                               "Uncle, I just know.
I can't tell you how I know, but I heard
it from a man one night. He knelt over
my bed, and said to me, 'If you laugh hard
at life it will leave you alone.' I did.
But it didn't, so I know to believe
in things without proof is foolish. The girl
in the movie, for instance- how stupid
and gullible. So, people, die? I mean,
do you really grow so stupid with grief?
And- not to seem too bitter, dear Uncle-
but something happened, once- not that you know-
but something else, and I knew I was not
one of you- not in that time or in this- “

"Such bitterness- yes it is!- from you....I
never realized- "
                        A cloud obscured the light
and things repeated themselves in their heads,
thinking of how many more times they would
inside their own heads, and the heads of those
before, and to come, in buildings as this,
and those yet to rise, and those yet to fall.

"Uncle- "
              "Yes, dear?"
                                 "You know I love you so-
but I fear you will never see these things
I see. They call me from all the corners
and speak- 'And what you see, and others see,
is my fear just spoken.’"
                                    "I cannot say
you are right or wrong. Maybe seeing is
knowing what you don't as well as what you do-
I'm a simple man, as your parents were,
and- I mean....I guess faith is good enough
for some. I'll just hope that your flights return
to us, someday."
                         "Maybe they will. I can't
say. But buildings last long. They always do,
and they rarely change- unlike love....or life.
Don't be sad, Uncle, and don't be lonely,
‘cause in them I'll always be here for you."

Copyright Ó by Dan Schneider



Cured of humanity, the taller World Trade Center
despises its creators, growing ever more dull
in their reach for the sun, to cast upon it, its Light,
which reveals, to its makers, a vision to benight
even the wonder of children, drawn to the taller
aspects of aspiration, those laid low by design

or at least gray proficiency. This is a sure sign
that what uses once modern merely fades to the center
which thrives on uniqueness. So, this tower is taller
than the north one? Both of them are incredibly dull
in the afternoon. Has either, once, lit up the night
like the Empire State? Has it ever given light

to a young boy's design? When it is cast in this light
no lecture on the intricacies of its design
can rescue its reputation, which sinks as the night
whispers its way westward, out from behind the Center
which slowly grows lightward, from within. The day grows dull
as the tower is left to its dreams. It is taller

than its dreams. It is real. Reality is taller
than dream. So what if it is uglier in daylight
than Yamasaki's vision? No vision is as dull
as that made to become part of another's design,
or another’s fraction of dream, part of a center
that cannot be comprehended. Much like this coy night

Mankind hopes vaguely, yet dreads precisely. In the night
all our dreams are leveled, only fear grows taller,
like a goodbye a loved one cannot voice. The center
sinks into its own peace, the low dudgeon of twilight,
which ramifies its structure, as if by some design
of a god of the inanimate, or something dull

as the joys of big boys with their toys, or even dull
as knowing the ultimate artificer of night
is poetry- itself an artifice, a design
of the anima that propels life through dream, taller
than a child's, which are ever fading, as the light
gives its last, a burst of orange, over the Center

receding. It stands, a dull icon, in the taller
canyons of cumulus clouds, which design the last light,
outside the night's tower, disavowed of its center.






We have lost ourselves to marvel, much as the skyline
has lost its appeal to those beings below, smaller
than the circle of night. Yet, entranced by its starlight
they look ever upward, as I do to you, this night,
as my eyes fill with a grandeur, an unequal pull,
greater than these engineered Twin Towers. I enter

this ardor that you inspire. And, as I enter
my being- within I construct our own skyline,
of transnebulous beauties, which can only lend pull
to your presence. In this night only I grow smaller
as your hair shadows the tower, the wind, making night
sheer illusion, when its fluid is cast with the light,                           

of Manhattan at night, all my depths become that light
of love, a parabola that will arc and enter
the dream of a boy floating wary above the night,
which stood out starkly, a kind of immortal skyline,
against eternity's blackness, never made smaller
than the dream of love. Nothing is real. Nothing can pull

as eternity, save your beauty, which I feel pull
in my silence, full as the unblinking summer light

which faded with the hours. It never grows smaller
for your eyes are oxygen, your glance what can enter,
and power this dance that ignites beyond the skyline
where a scared star leaves its place in the immortal night,

and rinses your eyes of their doubt. You see me, this night,
for the first time, on this skyscraper. You feel the pull
as I touch you with my words and fingers. The skyline
recedes, as if a memory lost to the sharp light
of the now, where something other than love can enter
this joy which increases, and can never grow smaller,

like the future, itself, which can never grow smaller,
the murmurs of tomorrow, which gets us through this night,
nothing but a part of our love, which can enter,
and recede, with your kiss. You are that hope, which I pull
on in the breeze of adventure, which dares to alight,
on your being, as your eyes disavow the skyline,

as the east meets morning. The skyline would grow smaller,
without you, if our love were to pull, as the night,
what kind of love could it light? Or a new love enter?

Copyright © by Dan Schneider

Requiescat in pace [1972-2001]!


Time is the avoidance of simultaneity made arrant.
And were its face not so terrifying, these birds would not come
to perch and mingle; seabird with pigeon, and all....Yet,
the light that never fails rings through the fifty stories
of 6 p.m., and knows the strings of unplucked motion
in you, more than some Biblical tale. When you were six
you read in your Sunday School class of many men
and women who dared fate, and paid for faith
by its lack's punition, subtly guised as a moral,
of a campanile, a pyramid, a cupola, a lantern,
rushing through the star-broken corridors, far away
in some city like Venice, or some place. More distant,
the face does not know you, yet summons you, as you
see it seeing you gazing upward toward it. You ask, What is it?

Not insurance against the beaten wings of time,
for dawn will peek through each creation's coming
through another day, soldering the gazes from the many
angles into rapture of the spire. Then, a memory-
dim leaves of the self which tenaciously clung
fall to a place where: one day there had been a pack
of carnosaurs tearing fresh aging flesh from a dying
sauropod, whose screams filled this valley, once,
with the agonal creep of time's motion. Beauty.

At the passage of the quarter hour, the insistent sleep
of eyes resumes the melt of gazes into indifference
of their own muck, moving farther from feeling, deep
in the pronormative powers of the rest of the day,
till next quarter hour brings respite brief. Beauty.
The cologne of commerce drenches each pedestrian,
disregarding gender, so that the years have no bearing,
they fade their beings like proteins and carbohydrates
assimilated into the blood, until a whole lifetime
has made this body its purview. The city is
what is watched and upheld from the thrones of rock
doves and swifts who sift the sky at each quarter hour
as the peals of life vanish inside each fluted view
of bird and man, the passersby on the streets. Below,
all that is matters. Again, it is the city's communion
with itself and its face, ever gracing the beautiful
craning upward of necks. One hundred thousand strong,
evoking the swan, double-breasted and seemingly ceaseless
in their swarm, raising eyes to the face until it is
gone. For the next quarter hour a million dreams shift
through the streets, in mid-fog of the wails
of stevedores echoing sleep in their commands, of men
with jackhammers biting at the pellicle of day, of women
wandering with the soot on wind of work no one else will do
a thing with, but pay, and children playing in the gutters
with gutter-things rising like the fresh steam from a winter
sewer, or a just-opened biscuit pried free of its innards,.
receding its taste with each bite and pull, its citizens
also receding with each bit swallowed and subsumed, dissolved
into its place. Overhead, the birds gather, again,
into their nooks about the face, and mix their living
with the hammering verbs of tomorrow calling, even
as no one looks any longer. Who would notice,
or care to, without the valley-filling cries? Beauty.

Businessmen would not come, save for the tolling;
and lovers might, were they not marveled of the air
each other breathes; or children would, were the heights higher-
just a little. The cry exists. Inside the city,
and without repeat, it exists beyond all time,
it is the cloth upon which wove the building,
and body, of the city. Each tree replanted has grown
on its fluid, yet silence about it remains
on the mouths of the people,- mimicking some discarded hope.

You, sir, as you pass by, unable to give word a speech-
businessman, lawyer, banker, what?- Where do you hide
the cry? When the prayers ring out in another minute,
why will you show your face the given angels of your silence,
and then turn in yourself, rushing homeward, or barward,
or elseward? From here, again, I ask- thirty seconds
left before sensation overtakes you, and your muscles
arrest passion- what dares you to stop, and engage
in the time? You, who have life and motion, overwhelming
you....your gaze says no even as it says yes to the city
you reject in your living, take to the morrow
and disappear beyond or in or under the slaughter, the blood
of the unaccounted, filling an ancient rift long submerged
into the seas, so blissfully slowly. The strum of the wharves
far below you aid you to disappear, too, until-

                                                                      -the tolling
has gone, and you make me no promises, save forever. When the gulls return
toward the white face of time, will you retain your uplift long enough
for the city, for a moment's duration, beyond the gong, joining
eye to eye, face to face, over the millions of miles of life,
and drink in the city before it sleeps away, tonight?

Uncaring, you slink back between gestures, before
I am done. You have picked your epitaph, and it is not faith
nor communion that has gone between us. Things remain things,
substantially. An imagination that is its fate fills empty mouths
of yesterthings. Remember the face. How soundlessly it calls
home its messengers from the torso of the city, these self-resigned
beings made cool hands, the cluster about the stream of things,
these birds understand what sees with aimless gaze: "I
am the conscious call of the city. Through the day
and the night I am Hugin and Munin, and more
than Noah's dove. I am the terror of, and in, the face
made free to see. The people who know of me pass by. The people
who know me know to keep passing." Beauty.

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