From New York it winds
nine hundred mudlarkable shoreline miles
through the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic.
Unlike Billy Collins, I fished it,
caught carp, sucker, catfish, perch; swam
polluted waters; climbed and walked
bridges and trestles. I grubbed its mud.
Remember disasters. Before mountains rose.
The Susquehanna is in my blood.
Look both ways when the river flows.
Here it comes, there it goes.
Mind the gaps, the pits, the whirlpools, and vermin.
Poetic license: The Susquehanna River is 444 miles long from New York, flowing through the State of Pennsylvania (where I knew it) into the Chesapeake Bay. That’s 888 miles of shoreline. I rounded up. Disasters include the Knox Mine crime, Three Mile Island, pollution and environmental catastrophe on an epic scale, and many devastating floods.
The Empire State’s
of the city that never sleeps.
Coney Island, Manhattan,
Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
That tall building, George M!,
Lady Liberty, the Bronx,
‘the city so nice
they named it twice,’
Broadway Joe, the fucking Yankees
in the Big Apple.
Herald Square, Times Square.
How I want to be there.
Sadly, the day of many hearts
broken by hate.
I love New York!
Look both ways.
Take the Staten Island Ferry and the NYC Subway.
Mind the gap, as in watch your step in the City of Five Boroughs.
Conceived in infamy, born of the Essex clan months later, that Intrepid warrior,
called the Fighting I, she of the seas; Pacific, Atlantic, one vet of two wars.
I walked your decks, thought about men who died there.
Torpedoed. Kamikazied four times.
Now you survive, tall on the Hudson, alive in Manhattan.
Look both ways, from bow to stern, port to starboard.
Mind the gaps for a time to reload.