the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Pamela Hart

Emily Dickinson in Times Square

"I write in the midst of Sweet Peas and by the side of Orioles."
— Emily Dickinson, letter to Mabel Todd Loomis 1885

Wild neon night — all clamor & jostle
The circumference of traffic —

Buzz of syllables — heft —
Of cab horn & crowd spoon

No compass can chart this inscape —
Its burst of billboard into color —

The slant light of electric ticker
Tape — the multi platform million

Dollar vernaculars that criss-cross
Broad streets from the center

To the great river that sweeps
My inland soul to sea

Let's meet dear stranger — dear
Sister where time squares

Shoulders against lack —
Hustle throbs against linger

Listen — the commerce
Of word into flesh & oh —

The stumble of it — the swooning
Narrow rush into rapture


On Not Looking

Some crazy wind
banging into chimes,
crashing into chairs

I could hardly hear
dog bark, car horn
that incessant blackbird

doves hoo-hooing
as the gust rushed around
hiding from green

there was a sigh
of truck wheels or was
it a plane fine-tuning

the sky I don't know
I was listening not looking
there was no invention of color

I was a refusenik
arguing against meaning
and verb tense

I sat very still
the wind chasing itself
the sounds


Radiant Species

I imagined you & it was
a type of goodness

In the beginning a small space
filled with the photograph

I concocted from a soup
of light & chemical, form

emerging in the empty cup
I held it to balance the lack

I carried the cup wherever
filled it with air or liquid

watched light move across
its surface during the years

shadow over lip on certain
days & so my cup

became the photograph that
became you & my inherent

existence was no longer
drained of shape or cup



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