Tag Archives: street

Dear Pedestrian,

17 Apr

to have your eyes fixed on the scrap of sidewalk
always two steps ahead, despite this intersection,
is an exhibit.  It’s only an exit from the parking lot,
but I am here and I see the leaves and branches
of your wind tossed hair—how they soften, like dusk,
the hard bark of your expression.

A blunt couple, frozen, stands with car doors open
as if they expect you to do the unexpected.
And I, like a muttering magician, wave my hand
for you to cross, guessing you need something,
like a sense of place, to make your way east
along this boulevard.

But if stories are a way to see what happens,
and poetry a seed, you are both to me
when, by the corner of my bumper, you perform
a perfect hairpin and go back west, leave
my body churning its wonder and distress
in this, the failing flame of my forgiveness. 

Beautiful girl

26 Jan

you draw my eyes and I anticipate.
Like on a starlit night, my gaze
rises to your skies and remains.

When I stay too late in town,
full of cares, I remember you.
Street light and cityscape are fair,

but your light is higher, and yours
a darker country.  So take me
where flame will be folded into fire. 

Let us lie close.  Let us make
a space for stars at the window;
they are drawn by our embrace.

Hydrant

18 Jan

He’s stuck—a burdock in the sock of his apartment
on the third floor—so he shuffles
to the kitchen window, watches a backhoe
fold knolls of asphalt and earth.

Men and trucks are lined up at the curb
with pipes to fix a break. A rush of lake
consuming glory pours from the corner
hydrant darkening the summer street.

There! and there! glad kids appear
to splash their skin and hair and stamp
their feet. He makes space to recall the days
he filled his run home lungs with air

then drops his gaze to the pink pill organizer
and inhaler sitting by a glass of water. He thinks,
those men down there are working hard
and reaches for the dishes in the kitchen sink.

Song Of The Sanitation Worker

6 Jan

We, the yellow vested men,
Hold the bar and toe the rail of the county truck
As it jerks, bucks, and grunts its girth
Through city block and subdivision.
We leap down, run-trot, retrieve the bins,
And attend the marriage of a wheeled plastic container
To a greased hydraulic mechanism. 

Laying on gloved hands, we open lids, face odors,
Yank levers—bending, lifting, even reaching in
For the sake of the human garbage mission. 
Ours is the trash romp, the crud collection;
Ours the pride and pomp of rubbish. 
We are the shakers and dumpers.
We are the gristle on the bones of sanitation.

Sleep and Dreams

26 Oct

man napping sculpture

No crime, keeping watch for couplets or half-lines
to cut through the alley or gather at the street sign.
They arrive as I usher my daughter to bed,
as I doze by her side.      And no surprise

to see them when I stay up after midnight…
but to find them at the trigger of a drive-by
is a hard rhyme.  I have no wish to testify

when the shooter is close—when he is the son
of a neighbor; when I pass him on the sidewalk
on his way back from the Short Stop—then I think,

No!  I didn’t hear a gunshot; I had a dream
that ended with a pop.  I tell myself
      I never had the gift; I need more sleep.
      No living poet would choose this street.

Shepherds Of The Street

31 Mar

The shepherds of the street who pass our house
each day do not suppose they go their way for me.
By gentle steps, one or two move past our place.

At times, a posse walks up to the store
to meet some friends or buy a pack of smokes

and as they go, they talk to me if I am there
and rise above my fear to catch their eye.
Or I may give a Hey, to my surprise.

I am sure I never have that much to say,
but when we speak—or nod our heads to make a sign,
or pound our fists to greet, or even when,

from in the house, I hear them on their way—
I find their presence to be not unlike a compass.

The shepherds of the street do not suppose
they go for me, but, steady, move their feet
south by southwest or else north by northeast.

Everything Is Broken by Bob Dylan

29 Dec

Broken lines, broken strings,
Broken threads, broken springs,
Broken idols, broken heads,
People sleeping in broken beds.
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken.

Broken bottles, broken plates,
Broken switches, broken gates,
Broken dishes, broken parts,
Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken,
Everything is broken.

Seems like every time you stop and turn around
Something else just hit the ground

Broken cutters, broken saws,
Broken buckles, broken laws,
Broken bodies, broken bones,
Broken voices on broken phones.
Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’,
Everything is broken.

Every time you leave and go off someplace
Things fall to pieces in my face

Broken hands on broken ploughs,
Broken treaties, broken vows,
Broken pipes, broken tools,
People bending broken rules.
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking,
Everything is broken.

Tapestry

25 Dec

photo by Denton Harryman of GreenvilleDailyPhoto.com

Answered prayer, she says, you are an answer.
Billiard balls dance behind plate glass.
Cue sticks aim, wave, conduct our conversation.
Like over-sized batons they signal us to begin.

Friendly strangers, we lay out the makings
for a tapestry—words, expressions.  We weave
answers and questions.  A weft thread
beneath the warp rises to the pattern.

With longing, each one eyes the other
standing there.  Each looks for a close weave,
for a familiar image to appear amidst the intricacies,
beneath the lighted Corner Pocket sign.

Our eager, wanton prayers fly quickly, brightly,
like a tight rack of balls at the break.
Like many lavish threads, they emerge from below,
pressing against each other to form a whole.

to see more of Denton Harryman’s photography visit http://GreenvilleDailyPhoto.com