I first heard this poem read by David Rackoff on his Fresh Air tribute episode that aired shortly after his passing.
He said that he recited this poem to calm his nerves whenever he was enduring the many tests and scans he had to go through during his battle with cancer. Enjoy.
Letter To N.Y.
In your next letter I wish you’d say
where you are going and what you are doing;
how are the plays and after the plays
what other pleasures you’re pursuing:
taking cabs in the middle of the night,
driving as if to save your soul
where the road gose round and round the park
and the meter glares like a moral owl,
and the trees look so queer and green
standing alone in big black caves
and suddenly you’re in a different place
where everything seems to happen in waves,
and most of the jokes you just can’t catch,
like dirty words rubbed off a slate,
and the songs are loud but somehow dim
and it gets so teribly late,
and coming out of the brownstone house
to the gray sidewalk, the watered street,
one side of the buildings rises with the sun
like a glistening field of wheat.
–Wheat, not oats, dear. I’m afraid
if it’s wheat it’s none of your sowing,
nevertheless I’d like to know
what you are doing and where you are going.