Crossing Walt Whitman Bridge

Flood-tide below me! Please watch me from face to face.
Clouds of the west! Sun there half an hour high! Please watch me face to face.

I recite these stolen prayers
in wordless sighs,
half-asleep in the passenger seat
of a German car
driven by an Irish girl.

As the backs of my eyelids begin to paint pictures,
the prayers begin to recite themselves.

And I think of you.

Forever asleep in the ghetto of New Jersey,
yet still breathing the wind
as it carries propitious things.
Not just the wind though,
you are also the waters washing over us,
giving back our sweat and tears
so we may expel them again,
and again and again and again.
You are the seeds in the soil,
planting our tomorrows,
as well as the sprouting flora
that colors everything.

The roar of a passing steel truck
prevents me from submitting entirely to slumber.

And, again, I think of you.

For, you are the skyscrapers that reach so high
they must see through heaven’s gate.
You are the golden banks and the graying welfare offices;
the five-star restaurants and the soup kitchens.
You are the products of progress
and the parts that question the rigidity of its direction.

The Irish-American girl shifts lanes gracelessly,
but with purpose, stirring me in my seat.

And, of course, I think of you.

You, like me, are both here and not here.
Both you and not you:
a statue made of gas;
a sun-warped stencil;
a temporary tattoo;
a palimpsest, illegible from use.
You, like me, are a broken mirror
reflecting and disfiguring everything and nothing.

Not yet asleep, but never fully awake, I give up the dream of rest and continue
blindly furnishing my parts towards eternity.

Daniel Pieczkolon currently lives in Philadelphia where he teaches English at Arcadia University and edits Deviant Philly.

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One Response to Crossing Walt Whitman Bridge

  1. Pingback: Episode 19 – Microphones/Microwaves featuring Daniel Pieczkolon – The Oh Word?! Podcast

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