November 2003

Justin Rigamonti


Justin Rigamonti  Justin Rigamonti was born beneath the green-fleeced hills of northwest Oregon. After writing and illustrating the award-winning children's book The Pigs Went Marching Out! in 1997, he began working towards a painting and drawing degree at a private university in the outskirts of Los Angeles. He hopes to pursue a graduate degree in literature at a university in a greener landscape.
New York City—7/20/01    Click to hear in real audio

If you ever deliberately end up in New York City
tired of the country life
heading for the bigtime�
limousine your way on over to the laundromat,
minus the top hat,
give or take a bottle of Coke.
Cause New York is better that way.
Yeah, you can fly into JFK
and hope for something like an experience
but you're much better off with Marilyn,
otherwise known
as La Guardia International.
Now, she isn't rated G,
and they say she's been hanging around John
for some time now,
and maybe they're together
like a penny with a shiny president on one side
and a dirty piece of Latin on the other.
But if La Guardia is Latin,
then I'll be a scholar any day,
cause steppin' out,
the first thing you'll hear is the incessant honking of horns,
second thing is the taxi drivers trading cigarettes,
and third will be that laundromat I mentioned.
It's dirty and crowded and hotter than Helena,
but it sure is beautiful in a back alley sort of way,
like a downed power line�
broken, but still throbbing with electricity.
It'll clean that new smell right out of your clothes,
and you'll never wear 'em quite the same again.
Yeah, if Broadway has a backstage,
then this is it.
If Lady Liberty has a backside,
then this is it.
And if every Big Apple lacks a little polish,
a small stain somewhere under the sticker,
then peel her up, baby, cause this is it.
If you do
you'll find yourself
leaning on a dryer from the late 70's,
watching Mexican soccer, gulping down your bottle of Coke,
and it will hit you that you are in downtown
New York City,
and you'll run up to the 11th street bridge
and look out on the Empire State Building from the wrong angle
and shout out to all those upstate snobs
"New York! I got your back!
You're still alive down here on 11th!"
Maybe they'll hear you and realize you're right
and come on down to Marilyn town
to shake the hand of a Hindu or two,
trade cigarettes with the taxi drivers,
and get clean at the laundromat.
It's hightime the highlife
got the lowdown on the downtown.
Every penny has a flipside,
and every town has its alley.
If you want to see the real New York,
just look for the laundromat.



Justin Rigamonti: Poetry
Copyright � 2003 The Cortland Review Issue 24The Cortland Review