tugged vertically. What is pulling, what is tugging? Force.nSomething antigravitational. The madness of these builders.nFear of raising the head. . . . There were so manynlegends about . . . But . . .nI close my eyes — tilt my head back — pull myself together.nAnd suddenly the trap doors of the eyes go click and Inopen.nGeez. . . .nKnees weaken. . . .nThey didn’t lie, those who told the stories. As if I’d drunknhalf a gallon and … To sit, geez, to sit—as long as I’mnstanding. Over there somebody is sitting on the curb,nemptying an Adidas bag. Let us sit, Michaels, let us sit, asnlong as we are not lying down.nWhen seated, the height is even higher, twice as high.nThe Michaels are bewildered. The Yokel and the Wanderer.nInside a poor spinning head words go round and round:nWealth! Might! Wealth! Pride! Might! Pride! Wealth!nMight . . .nBut I hear squeaking:n”Maybe it’s an illusion. . . . Sort of stereovision? Maybenthese cars, herds of cars—like herds of buffalo in Westernsn— maybe it’s all make-believe? How about lying across thenstreet — let them knock me down, run me over — onlynwhen in pain, with bones crushed — shall I believe themnthen? Or hit my head against the wall of this building —nwhat if it’s just a decoration? Maybe somebody from thenNew York Propaganda Bureau is walking in front of menshowing a special film for the newcomer from a communistncountry? After all, for what purpose would anyone erectnsuch buildings, geez! Might! Pride! Wealth . . . The neck isnalready hurting, Michaels, let us go into the crowd. Firstnsteps . . .”nLead in the shoes. Oppressiveness. And diminution.nDwarfing. . . . Because of the hugeness. Because of thenmillions. Because of the billions. Because of the nation.nBecause of everything. Because of the canyons. Colorado.nAnd because of the grain. Of sand. I. Lie down. Die . . .nLet it absorb. And dissolve. It would be better . . .nnot to come,nsit at home,nwith head in the sand,nand wiggle with krakowiak rhythmnCi ja, ci ja, dylu, dylu . . .nIt’s too powerful. It’s too rich.nOh, get your bearings. . . . Where is the handkerchief?nFrom the airplane. In the bag. It’s here. Let it refresh.nWipe the forehead. Ooff. . . .nAnd the Wanderer: “To Broadway!”nAnd the Yokel: “Oh Geez, a small park … To sit! Catchnone’s breath. It’s difficult, oh it’s difficult, I am frightened.n. . .”nThe Wanderer: “Breathe, wheeze, when Broadway isnover there!”nAnd the Yokel: “That’s it! Enough! Why, why should Inaggravate myself? The more I see, the more I will miss mynbleak motherland!”n”Bury your head in the sand?”n”Yes, deep into the sand, damn it, somewhere near thencottage! Even so we will never achieve this. The path to thenside . . . It’s gone, too bad, let the grass grow over us.”n”Both of you Michaels come to your senses.” I, Multiexistent,ncall both of them back.n”Let us put away the old knives and forks; we are notngoing to taste New York the way people from Warsaw ornTaplar would. Calm down, guys. Neither with envy, nornwith sorrow. Not with animosity, nor with reverence. Looknwith an eye that’s neither Red nor underground. Calmly.nKindly. Look. Listen. Absorb. Taste. Let us then enter thenhuman jungle, Michaels. Oh, the human forest. Jungle.nThe city.”nPlodding along, walking, the Michaels — in this famousnManhattan, renowned Fifth, notorious Forty-Second, here,nthere, back and forth, wherever the crowd takes us . . .nLegs! Buttocks! Breasts! Hair! Teeth! Lipstick! Bracelets!nGreen! Burgundy! Yellowish! Ultramarine! Black! Cars!nScreams! Whistles! Eyes! Teeth! Jewelry! Shops! Legs!nBoots! Hands! Lips! Pineapples! Small Crowd! Dancing!nTrumpet! Drunkard! Nudity! Ice cream! Hotel! Honda!nCentral Park! Garden in a hallway! A stricken woman, hairnin disarray, end of the world! Radio City . . . Fountains . . .nBraids! Helicopter! Betting parlor! . . .nI looked.nSex — community center . . .nSurrealism.nShops, shops, shops, shops . . . And there’s too much ofneverything. Such as tape recorders — this is already tapenrecorder mania. . . . Such as coffee — half a hectare ofncupboards, shelves with coffee. Such as bread — it’s quarternof an hour to choose and agony to decide. Such as beer — innmany different languages — in bottles, cans, casks, kegs — innpackages of four, six, eight, one hundred sixty-eight. . . .nSuch as shampoo — so many brands that although younpromise yourself not to rage against socialism, all this cannmake your blood boil! Here there’s so much but there, innthat desperate country, baited from the East, and the West,nand from within, you never know what will be in the storesnor where, or when. And here there is shampoo for cats, forndogs, damn our stores . . . meatless stores. Anticommercialnwarehouses. Department stores with no merchandise. Gasnstations without gasoline. Geez!nWhen I found myself in Macy’s and saw the hectares ofncounters, glass cases, shelves, eight floors, hectares ofnmerchandise — it’s all unbelievable — I became sad. Evennworse: bitterness overcame me, followed immediately bynresentment.nIt occurred to me why in that country shelves are empty,nmeat hooks are naked …nBecause they intercept. Somewhere, somehow, yet theynintercept. Americans. I am serious.nThey intercept, of course, without breaking the law.nHumanitarian law. They are above reproach — officially andnmorally. They. But . . . He? God?nYou, High Up There, without Thy Will not even a hair,nnot even one penny will fall, do you hear me?nWhy in my wretched Poland can things never be evennhalf normal?nWhy have You decided to persecute this ill-fated nationnso?nWell?nWhy? <^nnnJULY 1991/31n