the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2008



Melinda Thomsen


Where will this passion go when you're not here?
You drink like tilled soil beneath the flowers
or soak it up the way a drunk does beer
and now I'm (so to speak) your April showers.
So often tenderness is refused or ignored
like land or valleys below us as we flow
across the aqueducts but you are moored,
an arrow towards what kindness may blow.
It's how you shine your eyes at me and hold
my waist or brush the hair from off my face
as we walk for blocks, avoiding ice, the cold
of winds or snowy slush. You make my case
against this death that creaks — a ship at sea.
It's there. It won't let us go and won't let us be.


My Origami Men

I fold the profiles of men
on into colored
swans in an array of lime, turquoise,
and canary and hang them
from the ceiling, equally spaced,
from a twisting thread
like thongs displayed
in the Geneva airport.
Knight Errant catches my eye.
He served me a lettuce wedge
drizzled with red pepper
dressing then rubbed my feet
and asked if I'd sleep over
which explained the lack
of iceberg at Gristedes.
The fan suddenly blew
Real Guy in New York into a shimmy.
The jealous type, anytime I considered
another. His windy emails full
of the "ineffable" bored
the pants off me
but he was so cute
on paper and looked smashing beside
NY Adventurer who's online, tempting me
with a blackout and stalled subways.
Coffee Guy swinging from the rafter
arrives fresh, razor sharp and sweet.
He matured over our first cup of Arabica
by describing his latest who stalked him
through the Holland Tunnel to the outskirts
of North Bergen. Beowulfie with dust
on his back, his beak rounded and cobwebs
stringing from a wing, he was my first.
When the vacuum cleaner kicks on,
he can really out tango my orchestra
of origami swans that I love
to watch as I lie down to bed.


Outside Brooklyn Cyclones' Stadium, Coney Island
after Eugenio Montale's Lindau

The swallow brings back a reed,
passing over the river, over the gull
that ascends and dissolves into a "V"
against the horizon, above the shore.
The boardwalk winds past the dock
and fishermen that stand with lines
pulled tight and under the sea,
leaving points, waving rings on rings.
A red jellyfish floats upside down
in the surf, close to the pylons when
another jostles to the surface.
A man sells bottled water for a dollar.
A boy picks apart a crab for bait.
The sun beats down on waves of sand
and hot dogs turn on metal rollers;
a guy shouts, "Shoot the Freak"
and pigeons flock around the girl
throwing nothing into the air.



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