Over and Under

By John Brehm b. 1955 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 (July/August 2007).

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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July/August 2007
 John  Brehm

Biography

John Brehm was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and educated at the University of Nebraska and Cornell University. He is the author of Sea of Faith, which won the 2004 Brittingham Prize, and Help Is on the Way (2012), winner of the Four Lakes Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. In the Georgia Review, Judith Kitchen praised Sea of Faith for its “unified consistency of tone and sophistication of approach,” remarking that the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Cities & Urban Life, Love, Social Commentaries, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Alliteration, Imagery, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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