Nice Smell Zone on the Gowanus Expressway

Monday, September 1, 2014

In the Orchard

We began our alternative Poetry in Motion series with Eileen Myles' "Truth." We close it, some eighty days later, with another truth, Denise Levertov's, "O Taste and See."

The world is
not with us enough.
O taste and see

the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination's tongue,

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince
living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

As subway posters become more and more standardized and corporate--an entire train's worth of American Express U.S. Open ads--it becomes harder and harder to find any inspiration there. Yet somebody did with the Jet Blue poster on the 82nd St. platform.

Tomorrow: "The Line-Up"!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Flower on a Crowded Subway

The penultimate poem in our summer series, Is Poetry Motion?, is by Martin Jacobvitz, one of the students to whom Kenneth Koch taught poetry at PS 61 in 1968. Koch used poems he loved, like Wallace Stevens' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," as models and inspirations for the children's poems. As he writes in, Rose Where Did You Get That Red?: Teaching Great Poetry to Children, "They wrote remarkably well."
Five Ways of Looking at a Flower

Sitting on a chair
Among gray buildings
Is a flower.

People of New York
Imagine the country?
Can they see a flower
On a crowded subway?

Waving wind
Moving a small plant
A bright shining sun
Paints the shadow of a large flower.

A flower is embedded
My thoughts are with it
So are an insect's.

The flower wilted to the the ground,
It was the finish of many things.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

For What? For Whom?

Pablo Neruda's poems from The Book of Questions seem ready made for Poesía en movimiento. Here's one to ponder in a subway car or coming across the Gowanus viaduct on the BQE:

Will our life not be a tunnel
between two vague clarities?

Or will it not be a clarity
between two dark triangles?

Or will life not be a fish
prepared to be a bird?

Will death consist of nonbeing
or of dangerous substances? 

(XXXV; tr. William O'Daly)

No será nuestra vida un túnel

entre dos vagas claridades?

O no será una claridad

entre dos triángulos oscuros?

O no será la vida un pez

preparado para ser pájaro?

La muerte será de no ser

o de sustancias peligrosas?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Water Babies

Those aren't sunspots on the windshield or raindrops. They're signs of progress on repairing the center lanes of the Gowanus Expressway West. Sprinklers are set up for curing the newly poured concrete. In just 28 days or so we'll have new roadway. And the jersey barriers will be moved as another section gets ripped up....The cycle of birth and detour.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Baby Bump

Update on the morning's post ("Roll Out"). It's a speed-bump in the offing.
Not very high yet, or decorated with stripes. But an excellent idea, DOT.


Signs appeared on Monday morning.

That afternoon, this pair arrived:

More warnings:

Tuesday morning, a DOT guy was hosing down the red roller.

By Tuesday afternoon, it was all done. I don't know what they did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sun Struck

82nd St. station platform, 6 P.M., Monday, August 25. Finally, summer.