Tag Archives: New York Bay

interlude

like wild geese honking
ships’ horns echo each other
fogbound New York Bay

*    *   *

© Gregory V Driscoll  2015

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Winter Solstice – a memory

She could be Thai or Filipina,
but I know she’s from Viet Nam,
with eyes that churn one’s emotions
with the lithe lineaments of beauty
teased from myth, dreams, movies.
The waves of the Bay’s waters
tumble over one another
toward shore and the flanks of this craft.
Her face is angular, somewhat flat
but in a pleasing way. Her lips
are pursed, pouting almost, a sweet red fantasy.
She looks across the white-capped roiling Bay
as its waves roll ever slowly. She stares
at the pale Green Woman on the stone pedestal.
Both seem to shiver, the one
in her not yet acclimated swarthy flesh,
the other in her tarnished copper robe.
She smiles, content to be here,
crossing the Bay in December.
Hers is the face of liberty, of hope.

*    *   *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll  2012

Surfacing

Oft I dwell upon the waters of the bay:
sometimes a shimmering reptilian green
resembling the smooth skin of some wondrous snake
that slowly undulates from shore to shore.

At other times the waters seem
like the hide of some crocodilian,
a duller green, steely with peaks and edges,
lying in wait, mischief and mayhem in its brain.

And when the storm nears, the waters roil
with whitecaps, rising and falling
with impatience, seemingly frightened
and frightening, its smoky gray face wrenched by the winds.

Winter tries hard to thicken the waters to crystal,
but rarely succeeds because of the briny brew,
the constant plaiting of waves, the dance of the tides,
countervailing winds, the plowing vessels.

The waters of the bay: never are they without motion,
like glass tinted blue, a mirror for clouds, for vessels
cruising the face of the deep; rarely are they so still
as the mellowness of prayers at matins or vespers.

*    *   *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll  2012

Crossing New York Bay 1972

The chittering American Legion,
stolid steel beneath me in the night,
the oily black bay rotten with water…
Singing high above our rusted keel,
the captain spins his aluminum helm
while he dreams of hickory and elm…

Dark towers of a thousand squares of light,
the phalli of property right
foining at the people’s crotch.
Aaaah sweeeet silent slaves!

Eyeless sky, glaucoma of soot and gas,
poisoned rain for plastic grass,
wretched winds that have just been flushed
from shooting galleries and tomblike halls
that stink of smack and bartered souls…
the myriad hells of ghetto rooms
where rats frolic and roaches roam
through walls of muck and waste
steeped in landlords’ greed…

Hunger. Hate. Death. For these they make us toil,
we poor, we tired, we masses herded on the shore.
Old Lady Liberty, the whore,
gift from one deceived people to another,
both battened on rhetoric,
our bellies bloated with empty words…
But she’s gone green. Green as the scum
on the water in the bomb craters of Hanoi.

*              *              *

(c) Gregory V Driscoll 2011

Note: The original version of this poem appeared in the 1976 anthology, Demilitarized Zones – Veterans after Vietnam, a collection of veterans’ writings edited by Jan Barry and W. D. Ehrhart.