A man shouting. It’s almost 9pm and I am walking with a new friend. It snowed heavily today. Manhattan has been washed, but remains without the sparkle of an unblemished city. The shouting man struts in the middle of moving cars. At first we do not see him, only hear his voice. Then he appears, hands held up in surrender. “Hands up, don’t shoot,” he screams, the lone voice in a city of great noise. This is the first time those words have brought me to a pause, as if I must join him at once.
From “Kindness”, a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa:
Sometimes a sober voice is enough
to calm the waters & drive away
the false witnesses, saying, Look,
here are the broken treaties Beauty
brought to us earthbound sentinels.