In California, You Still Carry the Subway in Your Pocket

i.

The veins of NY are in your streets here
You force your connection back
to a world where mommy and daddy still love each other
where your dog isn’t given away
where your mentally retarded sister
doesn’t ruin the marriage, the family, the money, the life
where your cat isn’t eaten by coyotes
where “how are you?” expects an answer
where words are pronounced right
Ohh” is “O”;
simple, direct as a smoke ring pushed from your lungs.

ii.

Sure.              Shore.
Here.             Hea.
Lerry.            Larry.
Water.          Wadda.
Horrible.      Harrible.
Ohrange.      Ahrange.

iii.

It makes your As like aa! rather than ahh
It makes you alone because no one wants to hear it now, ever
It makes you a Yankee fan
(fuck Boston)
It makes you hated and feared and respected
It makes your laughter uninhibited
It makes you exotic

until you meet another East Coaster
who lived in your city longer
and is disappointed when he hears
the crippled accent imitating something you never had
and you tell him that California experience
exceeds New York memory.

iv.

D’you know where Yawktown is?
Yes
, you lie.
Have you eva been to Richie’s Pizza?
Yes,
you lie.
What’s ya favorite food there?
The pizza.

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