Shelter

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Completed in 1895, the 23rd Regiment Armory is a Romanesque red brick armory.  Armories were originally important places to train and store weapons for America’s locally-based military units before the Civil War.  During industrialization, National Guard troops were used to quash labor protests.  After World War I, bronze tributes to soldiers from that conflict were added.  The building was rented by William Randolph Hearst to house a studio he owned in the 1920s.  Today, like several other century-old armories in New York City, it is used as a homeless shelter.  I went past it every day I took the express, instead of the local, bus to work.

 

They leave

without: shields,

shields, or anything sharp,

bronzes above,

bronzes of

soldiers who won,

(where do we keep the guns?  the pieces?)

Soldiers who won above

men losing,

Where we kept our guns,

where soldiers kept safe,

where men rallied to crush

strikes and stop rowdy wanting,

where we keep the empty.

They rifle.

Turrets at altitude

above attack,

the men who are

never above

the ground floor

these men,

at eye level,

or lower, foot traffic level,

cardboard sign,

subway piss,

but with souls,

across the street the gas

station where the money

and the delivery drivers

gas up.

(Where do we keep

the guns?

our heat?

our pieces?)

My favorite site for more details on armories.

Image: New York Public Library.

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