Photo credit: Andre Benz. Source: Unsplash.

the trouble with crying at Times Square

is that you are a body in a sea of bodies

sailing from one heartbreak to the next


the year is new & you are still just you,

except older, with less apartment space


& less breathing space and a neon red

flash flood alert on your phone screen


you blend into the scene. a neon green

woman dances at an intersection, joy

seeping out of every painted pore. you


offer her your metro card and a smile.

you are soon leaving this city anyway


at 7th Avenue and Broadway, you break

down again, affirming the threat of flood


this scene would be good, so good, if you

were auditioning for a breakout role in a

tear-jerking play about immigration law


& prozac prescriptions. but you are not.

you are merely grieving your twenties


& a failed loan application & a romance

lacking romance, the American dream


a splintered mess at your callused feet.

& this brightly lit city? it neither sleeps

nor sees you weep amid its neon lights




Nkateko Masinga is a South African poet and 2019 Fellow of the Ebedi International Writers Residency. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018 and her work has received support from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and the Swiss Arts Council. She is the interviewer for poetry at Africa In Dialogue, an online interview magazine that archives creative and critical insights with Africa’s leading storytellers. She is the author of a digital chapbook titled “The Heart is a Caged Animal, published by Praxis Magazine. Her latest work has been selected by the African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2020 New Generation African Poets chapbook box set.