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By John Brehm

So sexy to slide under-

neath a river,

to sit inside this

snakelike sub-

marine-like

subway car and

freely imagine

the world above—

the Brooklyn

Bridge invisibly

trembling with the

weight of its

own beauty,

the East River

still guided by

the grooves

Walt Whitman’s

eyes wore in it,

the bulldog tug-

boats pushing the

passively impressive

broad-bottomed

barges around,

and the double-

decker orange

and black Staten

Island ferries,

with their aura

of overworked

pack-mule

mournfulness,

and beyond them

the Atlantic Ocean

which I lately learned

was brought here

by ice comets three

billion years ago,

which explains

a few things, like

why everybody

feels so alienated,

and of course

the thoughts being

thought by every

person in New

York City at

this moment—

vast schools of

undulating fish

curving and rising

in the cloud-swirling

wind-waved sky,

surrounded by

the vaster emptiness

of non-thought

which holds them

and which they try

not to think

about and you

lying in bed in

your sixth-floor

walk-up sublet

on St. Mark’s Place—

such a breath-

taking ascension!

imagining me

rising now to meet you.


Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2007)

  • Love
  • Relationships
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

John Brehm
John Brehm was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and educated at the University of Nebraska and Cornell University. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches at Oregon Literary Arts and Mountain Writers Series in Portland, and at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado.   See More By This Poet

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