X Crossbeams in a Skyscraper


If you see time build the tower,

You will always see it in layers.


The population of the tower

Is one, no matter how many

Are there, or not.


Skyscrapers cut down

All lesser ones around them,

But they push the sky ever higher

As we humans crane our necks.


I do not know whether to feel

Big or small, beholding or inside

A religious skyscraper.


The windows are its pores;

The facades are invisible at its distance;

We flow through its arteries,

Pumping ourselves along.


All true skyscrapers

Are temples to themselves;

We are acolytes like gargoyles

Who hang religious art in lobbies

To entrance ourselves, then go stoic

To study, silent as monks, in its impoverished,

Impersonal and tiny rooms

High enough to kill us if it wanted,

But always too far from the top.


Are skyscrapers that harken

To past or future more magnificent?

Are clusters still one,

Are twins just one?

Why is it height that matters,

Swaying in its own wind?


I remember skyscrapers

In terms of myself—

I only see some, and remember less,

As plans doubted, then planted,

Grown tangible against gravity.

Many remain out of focus,

Intricate facades unseen

As interiors of strangers.

Some are lost, but I notice

None deconstructed—

I will not notice my own

Death, nor remember;

Jumpers do not count the stories

That whoosh by them,

But the starting place, and floor.


True skyscrapers have the decency

To cover up metal with skin,

To see out without being transparent,

To have an immortal rock as shelter from some place

For us to crawl inside at ends,

As means.


If you see time make the tower smaller

As a relative or absolute,

You will still always see it in opulence,

Just as we are the tallest we have stood, forever—

But still remember our construction

If we saw it while it happened.


—Seth Newmeyer

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