POETRY: The Great City

by Neesa Suncheuri

I live in the suburbs of the jungle.
A terrible place of gray concrete and hoisting gray cranes.
The pavement grows wild, humans crawl about it.
Vermin clustering in groups,
Climbing on top of one another
In the name of “Opportunity,”
Bound together by that invisible colony Queen called
“Common Sense.”

I can’t live in the suburbs anymore.
I wish to live in the city.

I want to live where the green grows
Unbounded, unfettered.
Where instinct determines survival,
And the populace is ethnically diverse.
Mammals, reptiles, birds and bugs,
All living together in concord.

Because there are predators and death,
The jungle is too urban for many to survive.
Yet with its high crime, it still appeals.
This danger only serves to make the place more
Colorful and entertaining.
Indeed, it is quite a stage, and
No one ever is bored.

And what culture!!

The birds sing operas, chirpings weaving together with
Chord progressions yet undiscovered,
Musical tales with emotions not yet felt by man.

The wildcats pad swiftly and soft,
Flawless technique,
No sports coach ever consulted.
Casual games of life and death played.
The ultimate sport is hunting without weapons,
Play to kill.

Spiders paint their webs, airborne nets,
Humid air is their canvas.
Producing paint from their own bodies,
Their art is truly their own creation.

Sadly, I don’t think I’d survive in
The city, that great jungle.
I am a pestilent germ,
Would be sterilized to death if I
Broke my way in.
Nutritious soil would seep into my skin,
Overtaking my unnatural senses.
Culture shock would render me useless,
Anxiety would become my demise,
And want of technology would create me
For the jungle smells discord,
Scourges it clean.

We humans have tamed the city though.
We couldn’t join it,
So we beat it.

Leveled the skyscrapers,
Those century-old trees.

Committed genocide,
Animal races deleted,
All but for Zoos, display.

We’ve now made the jungle the plague,
And Man the cure against

Civilization has ended, and
We don’t even realize it.


Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York.  She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness?  A Mental Health Discussion Group.”  Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia.  She is a singer/songwriter, and performs in various venues in the city.  She writes poetry, maintains a blog and is currently working on a memoir.  Follow her on Twitter at @aquariumspeaks.

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