Corrupt City of My Heart

Corrupt City of My Heart

Corrupt city of my heart
I can’t stop loving you
even if it kills me.

My first John Wayne movie informed me of one thing: I was living in a place tougher than that old bastard could ever hope to handle. And I could never survive if I incorporated his defeatist values into my life. Fantasies like a fair fight belonged on television but don’t take them to the school yard. The last bully I had to take out was 75 lbs. heavier than me and no amount of chinese diplomacy was going to make a dent in his iron head. I struck first and threw his big body down a flight of metal stairs at school. And as I pretended to check on his well-being I warned him next time if will be his neck that was broken. That’s how you deal with a dangerous bully in the big city. No bullshit boxing. No old west romance.

You and your friends are safe with a pair of num-chuks neatly tucked in the back of the pants. I once had to crack a guy over the head who thought he was going to rob me in the subway. He begged me not to throw him on the train tracks. I snarled at him “I wasn’t even thinking of that!” and quickly hit him over the head again and then the train arrived. In psychology that’s called projection. Yet I was raised better than that. Nobody’s going to die. But somebody’s going to bleed. With my luck, usually on my new shirt.  It can be frustrating.

Helping the community is a way to give back to those whom deserve our respect. Any knucklehead can smack a few bums to clean out the park at night. I’ve done my share. But it takes a solid citizen to volunteer at the senior center. To play checkers with the old guys. To help the ladies in the garden. To show you’re more than some neighborhood tough with a decent grade average. (Mine’s probably better than yours.) Into the early evening I walk one lady home arm in arm. She enjoys telling me about her husband who died in the war. She never remarried. He was the light of her life. I open the front door and make sure all is safe. In the morning, I leave her a paper and a loaf of Italian bread before I go to school.  I’m forever worried something’s going to happen to that woman. She’s a gentle reminder of that nobility is all about even in this corrupt city that lives to see you die.
Mark Antony Rossi
Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of 15 titles.
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  1. Cities are rough landscapes that scar the psyche.


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