Bridge

For MJN crossing beneath,
for NYC connecting across,
for The Brooklyn Bridge rescue working destiny

Advance your vantage
point, collapse
your facade of steel,
your gutted concrete floor.

Collide your bridge maker
with mine, collage your hand over mouth
with my eyes shut,
vocal chords in strangulation—

a scream
a void

to coalesce to convalesce
on one promenade
of material unidentifiable yet.
Coordinate the crossing—

bare feet
dust
ash caked faces

no veil could protect,
suits meaningless, ties undone
till they become arms swaying.
A human chain

of events. A human
behavior changing—
never
no way
when
now.

They designed bridges
to be passageways.
Make them good
to get no further

than this. It is still where it has been,
the destination stands
between these pedestrian elevating towers
still here.

 

On the Beam

I can imagine Matteo Pericoli out there
beneath the Brooklyn Bridge counting
trusses and cables and stays. I can

see the world go blue against white
detailing and tiny capital
letters that march arrogantly into

the empty.
Never could keep them

so straight and clean and strong.
My architecture doesn’t lay out
pretty. Still, if I were a character

in a novel, this is
where it would really begin.

Distance Avails Not *

I like to correspond with the dead:
Tell Emily what it’s like to be
a woman alone
in a room 

in the 21st.
Ask Walt what he thinks
of the Brooklyn Bridge
127 years after 

the fact. The fact is
I can write to anyone.  I could
even choose to write
a letter 

to you who still breathe.

* from Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”

After the Resurrection

To eat lemon
cake with a spoon,
to dream of walking on
that bridge with you 

(not beneath it
in a tourist vessel),
to be so confident
grace will follow 

is to be willing to go
where there are no
sidewalks and still reach
the hotel before it rains. 

To choose to stay
there instead of in 

a house, to fantasize
about local lobbies 

and dimly lit bars
encased in translucent glass 

and steel where the coffee is
strong and black, to imagine 

the sound of an elevator door
opening at my feet 

is the closest I come to memorizing
the music woven
into the fabric of this chaise
we might share.

Steer Here

They say be
in the moment.
I say I want to be 

in that moment—that night
three summers ago
on a boat as it changes 

its course beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
Pause into slow turning, live
guitars propel the motion. 

Or that moment after
the boat has docked
on the bank of the Cuyahoga,

the sound of guitars
still rings
in my ears—lips 

on mine before I know
what or who 

is happening. But not that
moment followed by the next
of seemingly unending sea 

sickness on a ferry
as it rocks across
the Aegean. And not that one still 

to come that I cannot
fathom. How do I become
willing to let go of the old rail 

to recognize when another exalted one
might strike? This question hangs
on tight.

Bridge

For MJN crossing beneath,
for NYC connecting across,
for The Brooklyn Bridge rescue working destiny 

Advance your vantage
point,
this bridge,
collapse your facade of steel,
your gutted concrete floor. 

Collide your bridge maker
with mine,
collage your instinctive hand
over mouth with my eyes shut,
vocal chords spewing forth— 

a scream
a void 

to coalesce to convalesce
on one bridge
of material unidentifiable yet.
Coordinate the crossing,
bare feet, dust, and ash caked faces 

no veil could protect,
suits meaningless,
ties undone
till they become arms swaying,
a human chain
of events. 

A human behavior changing
never
no way
when
now 

your bridge maker, mine,
his, hers.
They designed bridges
to be passageways.
Make them destinations 

to be good to get no further
than this, this bridge
cannot be
a boundary
because bridges connect. 

It is still where it has been,
the destination stands
between these pedestrian elevating towers
still here.

Waterfalls Are Made (or, Olafur Eliasson’s “New York City Waterfalls”)

As I admire water
falls as art, I lose
my anxious desire
for a chance 

encounter with you. I never forgot you. Mainly scaffolding,
pumps, and piping, physics of the tangible
after inebriation splashes
into the river 

of our souls. I know you
had one. Did you know
too? The East River is not really a river—
it’s a strait. Did we really converge 

in a place where fresh and salt meet?
Did we meet at all? Lost in the mist
of my quiet life, I would not hear,
or see you, if you did approach behind me 

till that empty basin
of a voice was spilling sound
through the air I breathe. 

What do you think of this? 

I would try to ignore what I think
I recognize because a quiet life requires
uninterrupted mesh
with holes to protect whatever might swim 

into the loner’s intake filter pool.  Fish might not penetrate
the fabric, but I can’t resist—I turn. There 

you would be well
into midlife, like me. It wasn’t you,
it was the City I left
to catch my breath for 18 years. 

Woman, is that you? Man, is that you? 

Where we once moved in the dark
toward young urgency striking off
the planes of our bodies, we would now stand still,
stone pillars. The Brooklyn Bridge has sprung a leak, the world 

is turning in
on itself. Wind trumps water, but not gravity. Water sways on its fall
below concrete and steel and wood. And still it’s the water
I bet my life on.