Poems · Poemvember-November 2017

“The joy of feeling anonymity in a city…there should be a German word for that”

Poem 27 in the ProCrasstheNation Poemvember Poetry Project was inspired by a writing colleague. Danke, Haley, for making me remember something I didn’t know I always knew and cherished.

“As is the Custom” © C.P. Hickey 2017



“The joy of feeling anonymity in a city…there should be a German word for that”


Die Waldeinsamkeit.

German, for feeling alone in the woods.

Does that pass for the joy of feeling anonymity in a city?

Ironically, Emerson wrote about being alone in the woods.

But, where is the joy in that anonymity to be found?

Is there a happiness to feeling anonymous in a splendor of busy?

Traveling from block to block,

blending in amongst the throng of troubled travelers.

Heads and souls buried deep in their palms.

Electronic palms, that guarantee that you will never look up for the answers,

while looking up answers.

Standing on a corner, watching the world go by.

Hanging back, sipping on a chai.

Bearing witness to a thousand trivial concerns.

No one aware of your observations.

Taking notes.

Standing on the periphery.

Unheeded, unknown, and able.

Seeing the people who are ignored.

And they, finding you, and your perception.

Your large ears and heart.

It doesn’t matter who you are to them,

except a someone who can witness their pain.

Anonymity in a city,

a gift to serial killers and people watchers.

Stealing the lives of those that meander through your sphere.

Sitting silly in a corporate coffee shop,

looking the part.

Quill in hand, pen in fingers, laptop on table, tomes spread out.

Serious writing business.

Accounting of life.

The meat of it.

Capturing the rotten rotting populace,

in a candid frame.

The warmth of the city lights as they chase the shadows away at dusk and keep them at bay.

Steam rises, cars idle.

The heartbeat noise of the city conceals your motives,

allowing you to move with unimpeded privilege.

The stone walkways,

luring you to the harbor.

The industry of rats goes on despite man’s interventions.

A hub of bustling activity,

where you can go and no one knows your name.

And could care less if you came.

The raptured joy of disappearing.

Folding in on oneself.

Secretive traveler.

Born to run,

but happy to be static in between the raindrops when no one is looking.

Every once in a while, a wisp of memory will well up within a wary walker-on-by,

and they might stop and look at you in that deja vu sort of way.

Quickly rearranging their collar or coat lapel,

only to dive back into the sidewalk flow.

Forever forgetting that they might have spied something.

Nah, they missed.

Your secret is safe,

for now.


An anonymous city ninja,

blending with crowds,

holding court with the pigeons,

a ruddy smirk plastered across your unrecognizable face.