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May 15, 2010

Williamsburg


You, gargantuan prow of insatiation
Slammed into the rectilinear sky,
On what dawn did your hollow fury
Turn to the inverted world.

What thou, behemoth! Plying maw,
The pinking rictus of a thug’s dusk
That teethed upon the Erie Canal
And whistled down the rails to war.

Long years came shank of beast,
Bolt of cloth and mustard seed
To thy clarion of tons and wheels.
And then came pay dirt you had never seen:

On some signal night of thousands,
In one blackened eye of hundreds,
Upon your inscrutable parapets appeared
Beatitude’s illumined cube.

Then maenads all dressed in white
Tore at the flesh of your fruit,
All in a row in the river’s reeds,
And slowly goes the night.

Rapture of thy keening toil,
Cant of the rooftop’s leaning sky,
Sweep down shaft to peeling depth,
The very echo of your belly sweats.

Bold city under siege, spare of line
That braced the mind and steeled the heart
To polygons of shifting art.
But yours is the song of the earth!

What heathen glow unearthly cast,
What Midas touch on river’s breeze,
What obscure torque of your concretion
Could cause such things to pass.

Thee, candescent juggernaut,
Infeudated brawn of faith,
By one confounded calculation
Transfigured in occulting light.

Once you were the wings of Gotham
And the pinion of her spine.
We crown thee now a son of a bitch,
And here is the fury this time.

Ethan Pettit, May 2010