very interesting piece. i'll just get right into the critique.
for the first stanza, "purple city" and "dusk-brown sky" are enjoyable bits of imagery. the parenthetical is a
nice touch too. "of aching miles and cold nights" gives a chilling sense, but i don't think i like your offsetting it with dashes, because that's such an anomaly in a poem in which you use commas everywhere else.
the second stanza's shortness makes it all the more effective. definitely illustrates the disconnected and desperate state of society. brings to mind a few excellent songs. i think it's a universal feeling, yet people rarely write about it, opting for less worthy topics. you know what i mean. anyway, the "one million lonely strangers" is a nice contradiction of so many people but all detached. i can imagine all the unhappy faces, stuck in grey skyscrapers.
the next stanza is great; probably my favorite. amazing metaphor, and the additional words like "fraying" and "thin" just make it all the better. my only suggestion is maybe putting it as:
"He kept his head tucked safe
under a fraying collar,"
"He kept his head tucked,
safe under a fraying collar"
i think it reads better those ways, but nothing major.
i think the fourth is the weakest, which isn't a bad thing if it isn't bad in itself (uh, did that even make sense? haha). i know you intended to have it short, and i like the message, but i get the feeling that it's missing something. or that you could've expressed it better. i don't know. could be as simple as adding an adjective before eyes or using a better word than biggest.
really like the last stanza too; it's a very nice ending and fits well. i get the image of his jumping out of the building or something (i'm not sure, correct me if i'm wrong). reminds me a bit of a radiohead music video i saw for "creep". but perfect phrasing there.
overall, great poem. sort of like my piece "sketch" in that it illustrates a man in a few stanzas, but yours has a totally different sense to it. hmm, i haven't faved anything in a while, but what the hell, you deserve it. this is certainly one of the more worthy poems on the community page in a while.
well, i hope that met your expectations of a "highly lauded" (really?) critique. good luck with settling into college!