Monday, November 20, 2023

From "The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World" by Galway Kinnell

The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ 
into the New World

                  Was diese kleine Gasse doch für ein Reich an sich war . . .


pcheek pcheek pcheek pcheek pcheek
They cry. The motherbirds thieve the air
To appease them. A tug on the East River
Blasts the bass-note of its passage, lifted
From the infra-bass of the sea. A broom
Swishes over the sidewalk like feet through leaves.
Valerio’s pushcart Ice Coal Kerosene
Moves       clack
On a broken wheelrim. Ringing in its chains
The New Star Laundry horse comes down the street
Like a roofleak whucking into a pail.
At the redlight, where a horn blares,
The Golden Harvest Bakery brakes on its gears,
Squeaks, and seethes in place. A propane-
gassed bus makes its way with big, airy sighs.

Across the street a woman throws open
Her window.
She sets, terribly softly,
Two potted plants on the windowledge
                        tic              tic
And bangs shut her window.

A man leaves a doorway tic toc tic toc tic toc tic hurrah toc splat
        on Avenue C tic etc and turns the corner.
Banking the same corner
A pigeon coasts 5th Street in shadows,
Looks for altitude, surmounts the rims of buildings,
And turns white.
The babybirds pipe down. It is day.

Source of the text – Galway Kinnell, The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ Into the New World: Poems 1953-1964.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002, pages 67-68.

TJB: Street sonics. In Section I of a long poem, the poet sets the stage with a series of meticulously described/enacted sounds heard on Avenue C.

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