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Systemic Vascular Resistance

New York is a city where there are tour buses: red monsters of machinery with people on their rooves, staring out at the streets like they’ve never seen cement before.

They are on their urban safari and we are the animals in our natural habitat. They look at us with detached eyes, wondering how the humans of New York can function in this environment. We are wild animals, caged by the tall buildings around us. We are so anonymous that people on the tour buses aren’t even afraid to point.

This morning while watching a tour bus, standing on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 22nd Street, I realized: it was too hot to be outside.

From deep below
layers and rings of earth
I feel the vibrations

And now
the sky, violent
has created for us
A difficult film

In this humid,
sweltering and
Oppressive heat
I think the last ones standing will
probably be the ones who stayed inside,
their skin not tanned by the sun

The vessels of New York City:
the streets, subways, taxis
Filled always with us
and here we can exist, free
in the most expensive borough on the east coast

In this fever
when the vessels feel occluded
and systems infarcted,
The best course of action
is to begin
Chest compressions

Find your pulse
And theirs
and press, rhythmically

Keep pressing on —
Fight against a trespassing death
in this world of the living,
and fight
against the unbearable sense
of dread, resignation
that you can no longer

What I love about subways is that you probably won’t see any of those people again. There are too many of us. I love the New York of the subways: the city that takes all of your personal space, and gives you instead the immense feeling that tomorrow, maybe, something could change for the better.

Here, the air is dripping with possibility. The streets don’t resist. And even full with 8.4 million people, who scramble and jostle and shoulder and nudge, my passage is smooth.

David Warshaw David Warshaw (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

New York University School of Medicine

David Warshaw is an MS3 at the New York University School of Medicine. He graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology and Latin American Studies. He is interested in global health, disaster relief, and physician advocacy.