Tuesday, April 3, 2012

OpenLinkNight: In a New York Minute


riding the red line north from Staten Island,
where we took the ferry, standing, wind
in our faces on the front deck, both ways
under lady liberty, now on our way
to walk the Brooklyn Bridge
back into the city,

we miss our station

i could blame it on the rock of the train,
how it feels on my blistered feet
from all the miles walked or the conversation,
though we didn't talk as much as
take in moments

and i feel this one slipping quickly to
the tick tick tick til my time to leave--
a man playing the guitar, belts out
'Here comes the sun', or something else perfectly
appropriate for the situation, then
passes his hat---as if he does not realize

we just missed our station

and no one saw the mugging, sees the hand
continue to grope our pockets for precious seconds
even as we disembark, exit & cross the street
to catch the southbound

that just left & my inept-
itude with the subway card continues, please
try again, please try again--- people
wAiTiNG, nOt caRiNg

itS NoT FaIr & tHis is wHy houSes & wHOLE
ciTies BurN to thE gRouNd, iN rUinS
bEcaUse thIs is nOt hoW iTs supposed to happen
wHen

on the deck, an old chinese man, thin as a rail,
in black suit, black tie, hidden eyes behind dark
sun glasses n' blues brothers hat, perches atop
a wood stool, pluck-ing strings
along the neck & drawing a bow
made of rubber band below in
such deeply textured music
my soul quivers

full on J-E-L-L-O

& the quarters i drop in his battered case
are meager, but may be the best
i ever spent,

because we missed our station

and i would do it all again,
in a New York minute.

It's OpenLink Night @ dVerse Poets - and we are about to get our poetry on here in the first week of Poetry month---so write, write like your life depends on it---and come join us. Hedgewitch has the mic and we open the doors at 3 pm EST a'ight!

128 comments:

mo.stoneskin said...

I'm loving the blues brothers hat, I need one of those and so, I expect, do you.

Sandi McBride said...

I can remember my first ferry ride vividly...it involved hanging over the side and feeding the fish...yuck! Nicely done, as usual Brian!
Sandi

Laurie Kolp said...

OMG, you got mugged? Sorry to hear that! I went to NYC several years back, rode the subway by myself. I can relate to the card. You can definitely pick out the tourists.

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

great capture of your perspective on this city- not so much of a commentry about the world OUTSDIE but the feelings creasted INSIDE. I like the way you talk about the beauty of the grit- i often think this about cities- that there is often such beauty even in the ugliness. I also related to the passage about ineptitude- i often feel like such a foreigner- even in cities in my own country sometimes- becuase im too busy taking in the sights and sounds and wandering around without a shred of common sense. i can imagine how NYC would make you soul quiver like jelly- i hope to experience it one day- great write buddy!

the walking man said...

"itS NoT FaIr & tHis is wHy houSes & wHOLE ciTies BurN to thE gRouNd, iN rUinS bEcaUse thIs is nOt hoW iTs supposed to happen"


I'll give you a big ass amen on that one above and your final statement, I'd go back to the city in shot.

Tina said...

Soul quiver - full on j-e-l-l-o. Best line in this great piece. Love your "capture the moment" work, it's your greatest strength. That, and your unflinching eye.
Well done my friend.
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

Jenny Woolf said...

One reason I like your poetry is that I can almost physically feel some of it. You notice the telling details and weave them together in a really inimitable way.

Gloria said...

Yeah Brian all of us missing places,moments,friends,and love the Blue sound in this poem:))

California Girl said...

hahaha! that's where we differ. I would not do it again if I had to go through that. perfectly expressed images Brian.

manicddaily said...

Hi Brian--sounds like you found your station! (Waystation One!)

A lot of found music too. K.

kez said...

Ouch! most cities I love but only just for a minute, love the vibrancy, hate how impersonal it all is ...loved your poem made me feel I had my minute there too ...thank you x

Daniel said...

This post is just so you. The kind of post (as many that have come before it) that reminds me to open my eyes every now and then and to be part of what is going on around me. Blessings.

Cheryl said...

Such bittersweet memories this evokes. I don't know if I'll ever go back.

SueAnn said...

Oh how exciting and so memorable. I love your version of the sights and sounds of the city!! Thank you
Hugs
SUeAnn

DJan said...

Even when you miss your stop, it's poetry. I like the visuals and hope you weren't really mugged...

Shelley Lundquist said...

I love this... the rhythm rocking like the ferry waves... the chaos of how it's not supposed to be... and the soul quiver - full on jello - wow! Really fantastic poem!

Valerie said...

Definitely one of your best... I loved it. You took me back to my time in NY where I wandered unafraid and eager to see everything.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"we miss our station
i could blame it on the rock of the train,
how it feels on my blistered feet
from all the miles walked or the conversation,
though we didn't talk as much as
take in moments..."


Hi! Brian...[All because Of something missed...]

What a very "edgy" poem...I think that you have captured the mood, energy, and feel Of N.Y. city and your image compliment(s) your very descriptive [poetic] words very nicely...too!

Tks,for sharing and I hope that you and your readers, have a nice week!
deedee ;-D

Laurel's Quill said...

What a great picture of NY life... I haven't been there, but in a way, it felt like I had. Nice.

adeeyoyo said...

Wonderful, Brian. I love the fact that it was worth missing the station... I am a great believer in things that are MEANT to happen. Beautiful,'...such deeply textured music my soul quivers...' wonderful feeling! BTW welcome back!

lifeisaroadtrip said...

I have never been to NYC, but it seems like you must have captured the city perfectly here. I hope it wasn't too autobiographical for you though - except the good parts.

kaykuala said...

NYC is just people and the subway.The harbor cruise will get Liberty within striking distance. I love the Times Sq and the theatres. Playing was Anthony Quinn's Zorba the Greek or something many years ago.

Hank

Mary said...

I enjoyed this, Brian. I have taken that same ferry. You captured a slice of life as it is in New York City. Amazing how quickly muggers can work! But yes, I would go back to NYC in a heartbeat as well.

Mama Zen said...

I'm loving the feel of this. Great, vivid write.

Nikki Rules said...

NYC is one of my favorite cities to visit! Just LOVE it! But please tell me the mugging was just part of the poetry and not the real life experience! I'd hate to attach a negative to my fave town...

AmyLK said...

Did you really get mugged? OMG I hope not! Sometimes you get the best experiences from missing something. It does sound like a wonderful day.

turtlememoir said...

oh what a gorgeous photo, Brian, and as usual you take us on a journey that comprises so more than the physical... love what you did with caps and smalls when you (or people) thought things weren't as they were supposed to be, and that instrument - if it's the one an old Chinese man plays here in the inner harbour - gets me every time... haunting

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Enjoyed this visit to the city with you. Nicely written!

Brian Miller said...

sorry been in a mtg all morning...the mugging is metaphorical...the slow slipping of time away from us...yes no one was hurt in the production of this poem...smiles..

Wander said...

and i would do it all again,
in a New York minute.
I like that, to experience something not quite right...but worth it!

And I hope you understand that some people may take you literally about the mugging...

Wander

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Word picture...right in place...love the detail...especially the Chinese man in his hat!

Pat Hatt said...

So someone slipped their fingers in and mugged you
That must have be awful if it is true
Will remind me to keep my hands in my pockets at all times
With the cat skips the pond soon and hopefully avoids such crimes
Missing stops and being where you need to be
Can really be just what one needs to break free
And see a different side
Sounds like your time there was quite the ride

Geraldine said...

thanks for taking us along...I hope you didn't get mugged though.

Tara Miller said...

What a gorgeous photo to go with your experience! I agree with the other readers in that you take us along on your trip the way you connect your words and bring them to life. I'm glad you got to go on this journey, love, and even miss your station. ;)

btw - I got the mugging metaphor. Yay!!

Claudia said...

smiles...in cities like NYC even battling with subway cards seems to be kinda magical...and heck yes..these time muggers..they're working with all kinds of mean tricks...but then..there's music where you expect it least and time even seems to stop for a bit...love every word in this..smiles

Arron Shilling said...

could just as easily been Londinium i reckon brian -

your style is smooth and sound
and your narrative compact is always a pleasure to read :)

Anne said...

In a city where people spend more time walking than in cars, they leave behind messages of their passing, more so than exhaust(ion). Your blistered feet told a tale of your walking and missing your train exposed you to a perilous situation. You've caught how things really do happen in life again Brian.

Sue said...

Oh yeah.

Sounds like a great trip.

=)

Daydreamertoo said...

I already know from Claudia that you had a wonderful time meeting her and it's interesting to see that you each picked the same place to write about too.
Loved seeing into a glimpse of your meeting, and sharing some of the sights New York is so famous for.
Once again, what a lovely write, and, read.

Madhulika said...

getting mugged is a very bad experience... It strange how nobody ever notices the mugger..!!

happygirl said...

I love NYC. Even when I miss my station. Even when I miss my train. I just don't like the 7 train all the way down into the bowels of the city. Sure, it's ok to get there (it's easy going down). It's quite a hike back to the surface and the sun. I liked this one a lot. :)

hedgewitch said...

Just read Claudia's version of this so i got the mix going on--I'm glad you missed your station--I ended up in somewhere called Canarsy once doing that *small shudder*--thanks for the postcard of your trip to the volcano, enjoyed NY much more this way than if I went myself.

Josh Hoyt said...

It's interesting the things we miss and don't miss.

Syd said...

Sorry that you got pick pocketed. But hopefully, the music made up for a bit of momentary misery.

Anthony Desmond said...

beauty in the grit of the streets of NYC... rich details and I love the end... great way to spend those quarters sir

Becky said...

Oh my gosh! Love it!
I read Claudia's as well, first, it's so cool reading them back to back. The same day, the same scenes, but two different versions.

ayala said...

Love this...happy you got to go..even if you missed your station :)

*** said...

Nice to compare accounts. Happy get-together by the sound of it.

Hannah said...

So many potent emotions, vivid scenes and great details, Brian!I love the raw footed feeling of walking too long and talking and not talking.

Great writing! Glad for your comment earlier, a heads up, I forgot what day it was!!

Smiles!

poemblaze said...

Great capture of a moment. Of course you also made me think of Whitman, which is not a bad thing at all. :-)

Fred Rutherford said...

Cool piece. Been to the city tons of times. Love the way you captured the various sights and people you came across here, all the while telling a travel piece that is equally as neat to read. The city's a cool place but can be a bit scary as well, even when you've been there a ton, glad to see you all came out in one piece. Thanks

mrs mediocrity said...

this is wonderful, filled with such lovely, visual vignettes. so fun to read yours and claudia's. same story, different songs.

love those quarters well-spent, those magical moments that happen when you least expect them.

Chris said...

As I read the first lines, I thought about how I've never been there, but would love to visit. Then I got to the mugging etc., a little jolt of reality. By the time I read the ending, you had me thinking, Yeah, I'd go there in a New York minute too.

Well done!

Lady Nyo said...

It is so wonderful, such a special treat, Brian, to read that two pairs of eyes, and two hearts traveled this city and came up with such amazing poetry. A double billing of treat!

Lady Nyo

flaubert said...

Brian, you have described my magical city precisely. I love this poem. It brings me back to an evening in the village where a man was playing "Dead Flowers" when we were walking home, and you could feel the vibrations surging through the sidewalk grates. I know you had a splendid time. Now, I am homesick :(

Pamela

Vernon Wildy, Jr said...

Nice description of the city. Captures the moment and the surroundings and makes me feel like I'm right there with you.

Wolfsrosebud said...

a serene feel to this one Brian

Helena said...

My daughter would love this! She's not long back from New York - captured her soul it did....as did the JELLO, I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm, sounds lovely and reminds me of NOLA: "drawing a bow
made of rubber band below in
such deeply textured music
my soul quivers"

rosemarymint.wordpress.com

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Another wonderful write, Brian. Your stuff is always a pleasure to read, and so entertaining.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I love how you find beauty in grit and make us love it too---great write Brian.

chromapoesy.com said...

I often fall into judgement around a mistake or delay (today the snow caused me to miss several meetings and slide my car into the front porch) but forget that many times there's a reason. Some miraculous moment I would have missed otherwise. Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

An wonderful tour-de-force write about the city. Makes me want to get lost in the jungle there. Great write, my friend.

Heaven said...

We took the same station ride and missed our stop too ~ I like your eye for the details...including quivering for the jello ~ I would like to go back again...NYC is just too much to take in a few days ~

Betsy said...

aw...only been once but loved it. ...so much can happen in a minute. Better not blink or you'll miss something!

Pauline said...

You draw with your words, fine lines between the lines. Amazing.

Ashley Martin said...

The rhythms and images here are super. I love it all!

Ginny Brannan said...

Ahh, I love NYC. It's such a totally different world, isn't it?!! Doesn't matter how many times I've been, I still walk around awestruck and amazed at the sights, the people! I loved your capture. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and enjoy the moment, in spite of it all!

zongrik said...

the end is great, that is, i love how you wrap this up

Lilu said...

This was wonderfully serene Brian.
I hate that jolt I feel in my tummy when I miss a stop...
But even in a place you know by heart, missing your regular stop and having to step into a mildly unknown territory might bring new insight -- I reckon it'd be even more of an eye-opener to miss a stop in a foreign place.
Nice work =)

marousia said...

Sounds like a fabulous day - love the details

sm said...

just missed our station
beautiful poem

Louise said...

Just fabulous Brian...oh, I'd so love to visit NYC! Even with the dodgy bits in the middle...warts and all ..yeah, do it all again in a heartbeat :)

wayside word garden said...

I love the part about the hand that gropes the pockets for precious seconds... time is indeed precious, better not let it slip mindlessly away... nice write, Brian!

Eva Gallant said...

Sounds like you had a great day.

Adura Ojo said...

"People waiting not caring"

That line jumps at me, Brian. So typical of big cities. Sounds like you had a good time nonetheless.

Beachanny said...

Aw, and you just went and made me homesick for a home that was never my home except it is THE city and in so many ways America's home where we all melt into oneness and somehow the differences disappear as we converge on midtown-- theater, sandwich, museum hungry-- smiling, nodding or gazing ever upward.

Nara Malone said...

You found the cities gems and those playing for change, appreciate your taste in souvenirs.

Alex Dissing said...

"& the quarters i drop in his battered case
are meager, but may be the best
i ever spent,

because we missed our station

and i would do it all again,
in a New York minute."

Love it, Brian.

Roxy Isle said...

I have always loved street musicians, well, the talented ones. I have never been to NYC...you make me want to experience the adventure. love the real feel...

d smith kaich jones said...

a fabulous city rhythm to this story. and on the tv - you can't make this stuff up - a new york state of mind just began to play. people are dancing, but i'm not watching, just listening and rereading your words to the music.

Ed Pilolla said...

what a great time you all must have had. i love reading the different visions of new york you and claudia had, with the same character in both. sorry about the mugging. everyone gets caught at the turnstile once in a while. it's just a challenge to remember it when we're waiting for someone else:) you all were brilliant to get together. nothing says it like the impact of your last line.

Graham Nunn said...

Great to read this after reading Claudia's poem as well. They speak so well to each other!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I love New York! Dealing with the subway cards, not so much.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Amongst the business,You made me want visit and you help me see the city, N.Y.
my poem is: http://leah-jamielynn.typepad.com/

colleen said...

I rode along and enjoyed it. Nice ending too. It reminds me of a chapter in the book I wrote about losing two brothers a month apart called "Red Line to the Moon." It was a subway ride in Boston at Christmas.

sage said...

A New YOrk minute... nice ending. The messing with the cards and missing stations reminded me of riding the Moscow subway this summer (and the gate attendants didn't speak English, but then they might not have in NYC too)

Truedessa said...

Brian,

Interesting perspective on your city adventure. NYC is a one of kind place so much for the senses to see, feel and hear. Nice write enjoyed it!

Ravenblack said...

I have missed train stops being engrossed in talking or more often, the game gadget in my hand. The small big letters really feels like being in a crowd of people, being shoved, squeezed on all sides. I don't really enjoy being in the city, I don't think I would want to be in this kind of crowd but I'm well adapted to it. Enjoyed reading this though. :)

missing moments said...

Great words for the rhythm of the city ... love NYC ...

oceangirl said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this and moved by it especially the mugging stanza with all the messed up alphabets and I am caught in the whole minute of New York City.

I would love to go back to New York City with friends.

momto8 said...

I actually have this dream!

KB said...

Your title is the title of one of my favourite songs. Never been to NY but it's on my list. Thanks for taking us on your trip with this one.

Slamdunk said...

Wow Brian...

I leave NYC exploring to the Mrs.

I would rather risk stepping in cow dung in our middle of nowhere.

PattiKen said...

It was great reading both your and Claudia's visit to NY. I love NY, and you took me right there, traveling its wonders at your side. thanks, Brian.

bluecottonmemory said...

You got your quarters out before you got mugged? Right? What a New York experience! I always panic when people are waiting on me to be perfect!!!

Semaphore said...

New York - you can find in it stories of darkness that can make you shiver... and yet you can also find small miracles, epiphanies, in the most unexpected of places. You've explored this so well, with your vignettes of darkness and light, unfolding in verse like the doors of the subway train as they reveal, with each new stop, another act, another scene.

Aidz Giannini said...

A love when a write tells m ea story , gives me an insight into the poets world, saves me money on travel ;)

andyflower01 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
janaki nagaraj said...

What an observation! and wonderful description too.

She Writes Here Now said...

I want a New York minute, but not with someone's hands in my pocket. Grrr this is the part of traveling I dread. BUT the man you gave the quarters to. Don't you love the people you see when you travel anywhere and just open your eyes :).

Brendan said...

A bit of the Whitman ecstatic here singing of getting lost in New York, of all that can happen when one allows oneself to miss their station and find everything that waits beyond. Lots of good music coming in from the peripheries. - Brendan

Dave King said...

Marvellous. Each one that I read of yours strikes me with the same freshness and originality. Thanks. Just keep 'em coming!

John (@bookdreamer) said...

A urban story!

jackiedick said...

Nice capture of minute NY, Brian...Like much the mugging metaphor. Come again, and again!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

fun! Sometimes the coolest stuff happens in the accidental miss of something that was supposed to be.

G-Man said...

You can have the Big Apple...
I'll take Po-Dunk middle America anyday!
Nicely Written

Natasha Head said...

Some of the best poetry comes from those WTF moments...I think it's fantastic that despite the bumps, you were still able to bring forth the mystery and beauty of a city I long to VISIT!!! ;) Waving hey from comment #107!

Zoe said...

Very nice - those moments of missed stations are often sublime. Enjoyed this one - just wish I could have seen it with you both! :)

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

After reading Claudias, had to come straight over here of course. As others have said, it's lovely how they complete each other, your poem and hers. And as one who has never been to NYC, I enjoy the glimpse you have both given me, free of stereotypes.

Steve King said...

What a great kaleidoscope of impressions. Funny, I'd just read Claudia's. Two different feels from the same bucket of inspiration. I love the jumbled caps, etc. A great sense of the confusion and frustration, etc., but I too return as often as I can. Very nice job.

TALON said...

This brought back vivid New York memories for me. Thank you, Brian. I loved all the attention to detail...all the layers tucked inside.

Heather said...

Awesome - glad you enjoyed the trip...it's ok to miss your station every once and again!
ill be back friday - to catch up!
xo

C Rose said...

Your words present an interesting journey, the split of light and dark within the walls...enjoyed! ~ Rose

PoppySilverUK said...

This is remarkable imagery. I can feel how it would feel to be there, it is so tangible!
You have the beauty but then you have the other side of the reality cascading down....all balanced within a few moments...triple aspect of life, all grounded in one place, amazing! xoxo

Uneven Stephen said...

Great poem, Brian. I still need to visit New York with all its hustle & bustle.

Sharp Little Pencil said...

This took me right back to the City, Brian, where I spent many years. Your final meditation on the man with the rubber-band instrument - and just before it, the very effective use of cAps AnD LOweR caSe letters, conveying that sense of NYC topsy-turvy values... brilliant. You're right, it's not supposed to be that way. And you're right, the quarters were well spent. Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/04/03/refractions-pad-day-3/

Rachel Hoyt said...

This is an awesome story / poem! Sometimes we get so frustrated when we take an accidental detour and miss the enjoyable scenery. :)

Charles Miller said...

Those minutes that draw us into the heart of the city, lost but never forlorn for her treasures are best found when she invites you down broken, half-hidden streets. That city that lures and lulls us with animality beyond animal, soul beyond soul, the teeming mass that wells up with best and worst that humans can bear fruit of. This is so lovely, yes lovely, in its awareness that will always stay awake to the new, the alive, the passionate grasp of so much life.

joanna said...

a New York minute indeed. :) you take us there with your words, b., the ups and downs, beauty and subway grime... evocative.

sharmishtha said...

beautiful! a slip can bring so much change in our daily routine. beautifully shared.

Beth Winter said...

Life bombards us with good and bad and doesn't matters all of the time. I'm not a natural optimist in my own experiences (see reams of previous poetry) but I do believe that sometimes missing a station is meant to be, meant to give us those moments to experience, just as karma is going to crush the mugger's fingers in the subway doors one day. Wonderful sharing of the experience from your perspective. Having read both, I still envy the opportunity and have a more complete picture of the minute. Wonderful, Brian.

farmlady said...

I was only there once, for four days, and found it exciting but scary with noise. The cab drivers were really rude and reckless. I wouldn't have gone into the subway for love or money.
But it was the first time I drove through Central Park in a horse drawn carriage and ate Godiva chocolates.
I have always wanted to go back again at Christmas.
This poem brought back these memories. Amazing!

Margaret said...

See, I get to NYC and I am counting down my time to get OUT... One day, maybe two at tops for me. You paint a too hectic pace for me.

Celestial Dreamz said...

your poetry is so endearing because it's so vivid ... i almost live that experience.

... and thank you for your comment; it's always inspiring ... joined a new college as an associate prof and the hectic work schedule is taking a toll over my creativity ...

Goofball said...

sounds lovely apart from the mugging. Were you victim?

Lydia said...

Oh yeah. A pERfEct New York poem.

william said...

muggings are soul destroying and can leave scars, you highlighted this well friend, great imagery ;)