“E 14th and Gandhi” by Tyler Thier

“E 14th and Gandhi” by Tyler Thier

Union Square, the southwest corner where you can just
make out the digital doomsday clock, just above
the statue of Gandhi that I had always assumed
was an old banking magnate with a decorative cane.

I walked through earlier tonight, heading towards
the intersection where we argued over an uncertain future—
whether to re-caffeinate at the Starbucks down the block
or just call it a night and slink back to the vacuous
roads between larger stretches of Long Island highway.

Then I drew closer to a cluster of people behind Mahatma,
a neon glow jutting out from them and framing him
in a halo—a beacon of serenity in an urban network
of anthills, that ten-inch wide zen garden you described
as the one he inhabits between the sidewalks, a perfect spot
for exhaling the sponge-yellow dust of traffic.

I listened to the EDM distortion on a battered stereo hidden
somewhere between the legs of everyone and continued
toward Bleecker—that Bollywood-themed counter-serve
with brain-searing Indian food that, in the moment of this
crowd’s multi-colored blaze, was going to be eaten in your honor.

And I looked back to watch the neon loom high above the streets—
those glowsticks children flail aggressively in friends’ faces
and puncture the elixir out of at bowling-alley bar mitzvahs
and pop-drenched block parties, hurling over the freshest
horde of subwayfarers with a ballistic whir and for a moment
flash-bulbing the dark-chocolate enamel of Gandhi’s face.