THE FLAT
A three-room, walk-up, fourth-floor flat,
Sparsely furnished, dull, and drab,
Old upholstery, worn and torn,
And drapes, washed-out and sad.
 
Oh, once the draperies had color,
Soft pink and rose designed,
But now the pattern's disappeared,
Just a hint of tint and line. 
 
A new paint job would help so much,
And pictures, too, would be quite nice,
But good art is hard to find,
When one cannot afford the price.
 
Tired lamps light the flat at night,
With shades now yellowed, cracked, and old,
And brighter bulbs don't help at all,
Because they can make fuses blow.
 
The winter's cold; the summer's hot,
No way to overcome,
One must accept goose bumps or sweat,
No happy medium.
 
The first attraction to the place?
Its rent - affordable and low,
And it is a place to hang one's hat,
So one can call it home.
 
But no matter how despairing,
Redeeming qualities break through,
For from those fourth floor windows
Is the most amazing view.
 
The magic of the city,
Stretches out before one's eyes,
A skyline so spectacular,
One stares, as hypnotized.
 
The twinkling lights from skyscrapers,
Are like diamonds to one's sight,
One may almost grab a handful,
From that fourth floor every night.
 
The competition with the stars
Is unbelievable,
Man-made vs God-made,
Incomprehensible.
 
And if that doesn't take one's breath away,
One only has to look below,
For four flights down upon the ground,
Another whole world shows.
 
The white headlights from rushing cars,
The red tail-lights from brakes,
Green signal lights that say, "Come on!"
And orange lights that say, "No!  Wait!"
 
Across the street, a neon sign ,
In yellows, blues, and greens,
A ten foot square, a top a shop,
That sells candy and ice creams.
 
The movie theatre down the block,
Has rows of lights on its marquis,
Which flash in sequence, off and on,
And are a real delight to see.
 
Upon a neighboring roof,
A painted billboard ... way up high,
With floodlights playing on it
That light up the whole night sky.
 
But it isn't just the glitz and lights
That make this place so charming,
For the sounds that echo up, you know.
Are also quite disarming.
 
The honking horns, the squealing brakes,
The clanging trolley bells,
Each knows when to join in,
As if orchestrated well.
 
Whining sirens ... meaning trouble,
Big trucks, beeping in Reverse,
Loud blasts from bus air-horns,
And policemen's whistles, shrill and terse.
 
Voices from the ice cream shop,
And from the theatre crowd,
Arrive above on windy gusts,
Seeming musically endowed.
 
The symphony plays on each night,
While the city's stage is lit,
And the audience on the fourth floor
Loves every bit of it.
 
The comedies and tragedies,
Which unfold by sight and sound
Are as great as one's imagination,
And know no checks or bounds.
 
So, the three-room, walk-up, fourth-floor flat
Is the city's best kept secret treasure,
Though pathetic, plain, and poor as dirt,
It gives the most elegant of pleasures!
 
Virginia (Ginny)Ellis
Copyright October 2004

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