Times Square is not real

that’s what I hear them say

kids slumped over stella artois

small eyes under big hats

expats, relocated, evacuated

from mississippi, california, florida, upstate

it’s not real new york

there are too many tourists

there are too many lights

there are too many manys

on accident we stand under America

the promised land promised in neon

as tourists squeeze by

flushed and flustered

and expats pour in and out of offices


and say this isn’t

real new york

20 blocks north and one borough away

from real new york

we stand under the too many lights

and you ask a tourist for directions

for no reason.

I gape behind my camera

and we both laugh out loud

the man shouting

comedy show comedy show do you like to laugh

he knows our game.

your hand fits in the crook of my waist

as we walk the 20 blocks south

and ride one borough east

back to what’s real

and try to figure out

what’s the difference.