Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bridging Influence

One span of the multi-bridge complex to Newburyport, the Essex-Merrimack Bridge, is again under construction. Last year, more than eighteen months of work was completed renovating the old Chain Bridge, the second bridge of the complex. But the draw bridge that leads to the Chain Bridge is now undergoing some kind of welding mend, repairing a track that the bridge's opening mechanism rides in order to rotate open.

Every morning the traffic backs up while its passage is directed into one lane. Every day a traffic cop stands on the bridge, above the Merrimack River, controlling our travel. Beneath him the river keeps on flowing, unaware of his earthly authority. As well as those who travel the river byway.
Bridge Construction Down to One Lane

He works that draw bridge—every morning this fall—
directing traffic. Lines—outside his line
of sight—develop, with commuters long
of face and first in temper. Never mind—
he manages emotions just as well
as transportation snags. So what the hell,

he’ll just enjoy the weather—sun and all.
The river stretches like a yawn downstream.
From underneath—he hears the currents whine,
then sights a motor boat—twin engines scream—
traveling fast beyond his influence.
He beckons both lanes at once—in his defense.
Besides an attempt to depict the paradox of authority in this world, I’m working on two approaches of technique in this one, the stutter of traffic as well as the easy authority of a traffic cop, a sense of movement and a sound of sense. For the record, the latest revision of the poem will be here.

1 comment:

Tom said...

"traveling fast beyond his influence" is a great line.