Floating City

I’m back in New York and I have a little story to share.

While I was in Mesilla, NM (see below), I was of course missing New York, but then not really — the beautiful adobe house I was staying in was huge and lovely, rundown in a charming kind of way, and ever so cheap (you see my point). So every morning, I biked a short distance to a coffee place, The Bean, and one day I noticed a book on one of the side tables, a slim little paperback titled, “Floating City,” which piqued my interest. It turned out to be a book of poems by a woman who had won the Walt Whitman award for new poets. Now, keep in mind I hardly ever read poetry, but I started reading this collection by Anne Pierson Wiese. Turns out she lives in Brooklyn and her poetry so absolutely captures the essence of life in the city — the small moments of beauty and tragedy, how the natural and the built environments can combine to create magic. So I kept this book with me (stole it from The Bean, I must admit), carrying it around in my bag for weeks, pulling it out at times to read a poem and just revel in this woman’s ability to remind me why I love New York so much. Here is one of my favorites:

Composed upon Brooklyn Bridge, July 6, 2003

How the city’s infinite motions seem stilled

in the sun’s horizontal blue gaze–her tips

and contraptions, her manifold upright lips’

lisp of steel and breath on sky, her curved sill

of shoreline, bridged and built as if the mills

of God have been replaced by quicker equipment,

her people heading home; now, before the dip

of the sun spills red, how this equal light wills

me to see the whole as one. For an instant,

her interlocking parts of bedrock and air,

asphalt and wind, metal and flesh, infant

cries of traffic and windows’ crowded state–

all these seem to pause and fuse, a jubilant

pair of mighty lungs with breath upheld in prayer.

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One Response to Floating City

  1. matt says:

    That is beautiful. Seeing NYC from Brooklyn Bridge is a special treat, one I’ve been lucky enough to fulfil, both at daytime and at night.

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