crossing bridges

.
we approach her from south-east,
on steel joist, builder’s sweat & rust
like on a dragon’s back, wind in our face
(feels a bit like flying–), steps async
in rhythm with the rattling train,
that winds its way into Manhattan next to us and
drowns our conversation with gigantic shrieks–

though we don’t talk that much, rather
drink her slender figure, how she bends
with absent-minded grace across the Hudson,
touches sparkling waves with shady fingertips,
massages our tired feet with trembling beats,

and smell the lanterns, spices of the east
before we see them as she spits us into
Chinatown, two colored dots, blending in
the busy street like a Chuck Close painting,
making sense of being in specific spots & you get
meaning only from the distance, where the artist’s
brush spills oilpaint on us as we walk
between dried fish, wizened mushrooms
and a fruit whose name

we don’t know like that of the tiny,
chinese man who’s playing in the subway,
music for a moment that leans raw
against my chest, he smiles a second as i drop
some coins into his case– then shrinks
again, blends with the wall, leaving
only tunes that stay with me like spray-paint,
d..r i_z..z.l_i…n.g. ..  softly… ..
from the the corners of the day

.

i had a wonderful time with brian in NYC last week… we rode the staten island ferry, missed subway stops, ended up on the wrong bridges, walked until we didn’t feel our feet anymore…ha…but had much fun together… and somehow always were where we needed to be…just like the dots in a Chuck Close painting…smiles..and i’m linking up with dVerse where the weekly OpenLinkNight poetry party starts at 3pm EST..

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89 responses to “crossing bridges

  1. nice….came back with a little of that spray paint on my finger tips as well….there were some pretty good chuckles that got us to that point…but we were where we were suposed to be…and chuck close is the bomb….great ref…he’s much better that freaky animal head masks…smiles…

  2. Ahhh…it sounds as if you were in mighty fine company. It all makes the hours on planes so worthwhile. You must have seen the best places being shown around by a Native New Yorker. I love all your descriptions and especially the way you make the bridge come alive with her shapes, twists and bends.
    Lovely writing Claudia. Lovely company you kept, too 🙂

  3. “making sense of being in specific spots & you get
    meaning only from the distance”

    Wonderful line! So many beauties in these quick snap shots of your visit. I really enjoyed the rhythm and rhyme in this and the way it rocked along like a train itself, sometimes jumping in line and stanza breaks, but all tied together.

    Another fave: drink her slender figure, how she bends
    What a sensual description of a bridge!

  4. I can tell you had a lovely time, C … I suspect your soul is still over there … That’s what souls are like … They are slow to follow us when we travel fast.

  5. The details and wonderfully evocative imagery bring NY to life. My favourite part is:
    ‘drink her slender figure, how she bends
    with absent-minded grace across the Hudson,
    touches sparkling waves with shady fingertips,
    massages our tired feet with trembling beats…’
    Terrific!

  6. I enjoyed this poem, Claudia; seeing a bit of NYC through your eyes. I remember riding the subway to China Town as well…and that picture you took, I have a similar one. And yes, when you are seeing the city you don’t need to talk all that much as you share experiences together. And I do imagine your feet were tired, but a good kind of tired it is when you walk with a friend!

  7. ah, between you and Brian and the shared photo I am in poetry bliss this morning, beginning to feel as if I’ve actually been in New York, actually seen the Hudson, that bridge, that train – the Chinese man playing erhu (if that’s what it is) I have seen, though he may answer to a different name here, in this different city, different country, different ocean… (Victoria, Canada, Pacific)

  8. Sounds like a grand time was had indeed. Even getting lost or missing a stop or two puts you just where you need to be, that’s great. Although I hope you get to rest your feet a bit..haha

  9. Such great descriptions….I felt the bump of the train, the bending city skyline as you travelled- fantastic feelings of the external- and then you pulled it all inside when talking about the Chinese man and the effect his musician on you – dripping like subway spray paint- I love how much this place has inspired you – it just makes me want to TRAVEL!

  10. Immediate, bright, picture-painting words, Claudia–i can see you two dots rambling through what I would consider Hell and sampling all its delights. It is definitely an experience, and you share it with us here clearly and generously.

  11. leaving
    only tunes that stay with me like spray-paint,
    d..r i_z..z.l_i…n.g. .. softly… ..
    from the the corners of the day

    Absolutely great ending for a power walk of images…. truly exceptional work… thanks….

  12. Excellent description. Felt like a mixture in my mind of illustrations and maps, kept together with metaphor and poetics. Beautiful piece Claudia. Thanks

  13. Some fabulous lines, like Gigoid I especially like the emotion in those last lines, totally nailed the experience of a tune, sounds you can’t get out of your head….
    brilliant!

    .

  14. Writing from direct, immediate experience says something so different in our poetry. this one hits all the senses and wraps around the reader like a rug!

    You just get better and better, Claudia. You take the necessary chances and it comes up right.

    Brava!

    Lady Nyo

  15. I just love how you speak of the water like this…

    “though we don’t talk that much, rather
    drink her slender figure, how she bends
    with absent-minded grace across the Hudson,
    touches sparkling waves with shady fingertips,
    massages our tired feet with trembling beats,”

    Really amazing writing, Claudia!

  16. Sigh…I would love to visit NYC…your poem brings her alive and full of colour. That last line “d..r i_z..z.l_i…n.g. .. softly… ..
    from the the corners of the day” ..is inspired! Beautiful, Claudia 🙂

  17. These lines are absolutely gorgeous:

    “and smell the lanterns, spices of the east
    before we see them as she spits us into
    Chinatown”

    “music for a moment that leans raw
    against my chest”

  18. I came from Brian’s poem to yours and so enjoyed the different perspectives and stylistic representation of a shared moment. Until this piece I hadn’t really seen how much you have in common in your poetry. Great work!

  19. You took me where I was last year…she is some sight, and yes missing stops and walking all the way from the museum to the Times Square made our feet ached.

    Glad you and Brian had a chance to meet …the last ending scene leaves me wanting to eat chinese spicy food 🙂

  20. You were both in great company! Lovely taste and feel of NYC….

    I like these words:
    “and smell the lanterns, spices of the east
    before we see them as she spits us into
    Chinatown, two colored dots, blending in”

  21. As an out-of-towner I know a few hours in NYC can be a magical fantastic voyage like you enjoyed here, but I just wanted to say I think the coolest thing is that you spent a day with Brian plus Staten Island ferry ride which I have enjoyed myself!!
    Poem On !!

  22. Interesting reading both your perspectives on your NYC experience, Claudia. Your individual styles of storytelling shine through too. Particularly love these lines and the way they flow seamlessly into the next stanza:

    “making sense of being in specific spots & you get
    meaning only from the distance, where the artist’s
    brush spills oilpaint on us as we walk
    between dried fish, wizened mushrooms
    and a fruit whose name

    we don’t know like that of the tiny,
    chinese man who’s playing in the subway,”

    “making sense of being in specific spots and you get meaning only from the distance” – it’s like the feeling of an outsider looking in. That resonates with me.

  23. Read your poems back to back and you both took me there (read my comment on his blog). I love how you saw it all as a Chuck Close painting. That’s so true – made of faces, each dot something else and bigger when one gets close. Nothing like walking around (and eating) in Chinatown. Your way of expressing it – always uniquely you and like a tiny bit of actually being with you.

  24. such beautiful lines with such ease of mind and heart, once i read the post-poem commentary i understood where it came from, such great friendship ya’ll have 😉

    and the artist-input from varied art forms continually showing up showering your words with really special meanings for me, thanks so much claudia (ya’ll should visit more often 😉 )

  25. This has quite the rhythm to it. It’s interesting how your piece is similar to Brian’s but definitely unique in it’s own right right. And, as you’ve told me before, it’s our differences that have the most impact. Cool write, Claudia.

  26. I love reading about places through other people’s eyes, especially yours, and especially about big cities, even if I have been there. Your POV is always so entertaining.

  27. New York is a wonderful city, a writer’s paradise. There is a story in every face, on every corner. How wonderful uou got to experience it with Brian. You both painted engaging pictures of your visit.

  28. Claudia, how I have missed your poetry! I shall not again wait eons before I visit here again. Lovely poem. Took me back to my own trips to NYC for sure. How I miss that city. Thanks for writing, Claudia. Inspiration indeed!

  29. New York again! So interesting to contrast this with Brian’s piece, and the way similar scenes – trains, a Chinese musician – pop up, like deja vu, in both pieces. What made me swoon at first read was the bridge, subtly anthropomorphized, as you wound your way into the heart of of an amazing city, into the heart of an amazing poem.

  30. I thought your poem seemed to pair with Brian’s and that chinese man at the end there too was in his as well. And then the note at the bottom explains it. It’s really interesting to see the city from two poets’ points of view. This one feels more bright and less focused on the crowds and busy, but lots of great snapshots and samples of smells and sound. Great stuff. I can read yours and his together again, and gain much more another time round. 🙂

  31. the paint still wet.. Claudia this is detail at its finest..all sprung together as you walk the scene, eyes and heart recording for us to read. So enjoyed this.

  32. As a die hard Noo Yawka, Claudia, I gotta tell you, you captured Gotham, Chinatown so well, so uniquely. I love that simile of the “builder’s sweat and rust like on a dragon’s back” and much more. I could smell and taste the spices and aromas of Chinatown, and that ending only serves to underscore my love for this mad place. Thank you!

  33. A great sojourn with all the sights, Claudia. The last time I was there many years ago, Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge were shrouded with scaffoldings for massive repairs. Everything else were in place!

    Hank

  34. Great pairing with Brian’s poem, two inscapes side by side, sharing the same moment, showing how great and wide a space a single poem carves. Paired with another, it’s like getting two halves of a heart. You show how limitless the vista is for poems. And also though two poets get side-by-side, the language is each so individual one reads the work as coming from entirely different evolved perceptions. Really enjoyed. – Brendan

  35. This is such a great, fresh perspective on NYC. It’s so easy to become distracted, or frustrated, or too busy to notice. So glad you had a good time there. She really is the greatest source of impression and inspiration. Thanks for this portrait. Nice work.

  36. I had fun with this one. Especially enjoyed the analogy of the city to a Chuck Close work of art. He’s one of my favorite contemporary artists and such a marvel, especially considering the handicap he overcomes to do his work. But this is a perfact comparison. I can relate. Once ended up on the Verazano Bridge because the person with me who was supposed to tell me where to go had fallen asleep! Wish I could have joined you.

  37. This captures so much and I am so pleased to know you had such fun! Painted delicately and wisely, I enjoy your work a lot!
    I cannot choose a favourite part as this all is so beautifully and intricately voiced..amazing talent! xoxo

  38. Fantastic imagery. Makes me want to visit. I really enjoyed this part:

    “as we walk
    between dried fish, wizened mushrooms
    and a fruit whose name

    we don’t know”

  39. You got the bridge in as well! I just love Chinatown and I am so glad that you got there. This poem just captures so much of the city that I love, though it continues to disorient me each time I go, like a newborn child. You have obviously breathed in her essence, that rich smell of invigorating life caught on a hot wire to destiny. INow I can tell you did indeed enjoy your stay in the “big city”! 🙂

  40. me thinks NYC was your kind of city…the sidewalks are paved with gritty poetry and the people all jive to a different beat. I look forward to reading more of your cityscapes ~ a

  41. “…and smell the lanterns, spices of the east
    before we see them as she spits us into
    Chinatown, two colored dots, blending in
    the busy street like a Chuck Close painting,
    making sense of being in specific spots & you get
    meaning only from the distance, where the artist’s
    brush spills oilpaint on us as we walk
    between dried fish, wizened mushrooms
    and a fruit whose name…”

    Claudia, this stanza ” jumped out at me” after reading your explanation and after reading your [beautiful] poetic poem.

    Hi! Claudia and Brian…
    Ah! the two [poet] finally, met…I hope that you both enjoyed your time shared in New York City. [I’m quite sure that will one day be a wonderful memory…]

    Tks, for sharing!
    deedee 🙂

  42. Oh nice!! I like the way you weave the image here and specially spray paints.. nice and soothing so now i will remember music as spray paints too 🙂

  43. There’s a wonderfully graphic sense of place in this poem. I like in particular the evocation of the city as somehow organic, an extension of the two people passing through it. A lovely piece.

  44. Claudia, An earlier comment (I don’t want to scroll scroll and scroll some more to credit it properly) called this a word painting. I think that is very appropriate. I’ve known the city and places that you experienced and find it incredibly refreshing to see it through your eyes. I’m so glad that you and Brian were able to explore together (and I envy that). Wonderful work.

  45. Claudia, I just love your NYC jaunts versified here! They are not nearly so tiring as when I visit my daughter there! Anyway, the ending with the notes drizzling softly from the corners of the day–such a restful and restorative way to end.

  46. Claudia, Wow! That took me back to the five years I lived in NY. A poem came out of that flashback but needs work. Thanks, Léa

    Winter ritual

    In the bowery

    Patrol vans

    Crawl

    Ever so slowly

    At first light

    Looking

    Left then right

    Scouring each

    Alley

    Never knowing

    Where the next one

    Will be found

    Easily identified

    The blue color

    Of lips

    The rigid form

    The cold

    Of each

    Who escaped

    Their pain

    Freezing quietly

    Into the night

    Zipped in for eternity

    Body bags

    Not a fashion statement

    Potter’s field

    Not a destination

    3000 miles away

    I saw my father’s eyes

    Closed

  47. Simply marvelous. A perfect NYC poem, Claudia.
    I think it is so great that you and Brian had that time together. I expect it will make dVerse Poets Pub even more spectacular than it already is!

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