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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

The City

By: Courtney Camden

The answer used to be as simple as Amtrak, first class.

Scattered rats, rainy nights.

An ease to the escape that never felt contrived

Or improbable in the least.

The answer used to be as simple as New York City,

The entity and salvation of everything you hoped to be.

When those skyscrapers were more powerful

Than all the rattling prescriptions in the world.

But the questions, they changed, and there’s not much you can do

Besides let your answers fluctuate the same way

People step on and off the train.


Courtney Camden is a D.C. based writer whose work was most recently featured in Flying South (2017), Chaleur Magazine (May 2018) and The Esthetic Apostle (August 2018). She is also the recipient of the 2013 Rocky Memorial Scholarship and works as a Muse at Kate Spade in her spare time.

“Jessie orders us Philadelphia rolls and a large jug of sake, something that I’ve never tried and after my first sip am left wondering what on earth took me so long. I lean back in the flimsy wicker chair, feel myself relax in the comfort of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant just below Chelsea. It’s only for twenty-four hours, but tonight in New York, it’s like nothing’s changed.

In some ways, the distance is easier. While D.C. is a mere four hours away from the real city, in terms of culture it might as well reside within another continent. This is what I’m thinking when Jessie steps outside to hail us a cab, and I tap a few phrases into the Notes app of my IPhone. Not much of course, and it was a little hazy from the sake, but it became the basis for this poem.”


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