The Gowanus. Expressway, not canal by Walter Bjorkman

The Gowanus. Expressway, not canal,
a blue steel turned green turned paint gray
turned green paint gray steel elevated road
that whisks other people to the pancake streets
of manhattan in the morning to return them
to their grass-green supper lives
too far away to imagine but close enough
to drive to, that in its cradle
against new york harbor
kept one group
safely from another
except for the daring on each side
that would tryst and fist under its never
green shadows – groups that never walk away unsated
in their hunt for desires not felt on either side of the crescent
called Gowanus where you hunker down over a sheet laid out
on the dirt in the cave formed by the concrete support
that you climb up and over and under the green gray girders above
down into where highway and park workers keep their implements
door locked three times shut die-casting your future in money and blood
if this next roll doesn’t come up eight


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6 responses to “The Gowanus. Expressway, not canal by Walter Bjorkman

  1. Oh Walter, what a wonderfully vibrant slice of life here. Nice.

  2. Hard and beautiful. The snaking movement (eg “tryst and fist”) underneath here is palpable. Urban borders, yes.

  3. so good. i read it, then went to google “The Gowanus”.
    loved the way you worked with color in this poem, like a word canvas with layers over layers: the “blue steel turned green turned paint… ”
    great symbolism, too: „to their grass-green supper lives” – “that would tryst and fist under its never green shadows”.

    what a ride, and then the ending line, like a gong.

  4. Kelly

    nice word harbor, nice how on either end of the transition you get the feeling of solidity because of the words chosen – subtle

  5. Fantastic shading and coloration, and as I have traveled on the Gowanus (Parkway, not canal) more than just a few times, it brought me home. Transported me, as the poem does.

  6. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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