The bridge

Here’s something I wrote last week, inspired by a span in the Massachusetts Berkshires called the French King Bridge. Somehow a couple of glasses of cheap merlot told my mind and memory that it was called the King Philip Bridge…Anyway…the poem’s not good…it may be awful…but I want to post it anyway…it’s sort of a historical document. N.B. One reader of the poem speculated that the narrator (and hence, perhaps, the writer) was contemplating “taking the plunge” and my answer was no, not literally, for both the speaker of the poem and its writer have a terrible fear of heights…so, not literally, but maybe symbolically and maybe figuratively…do not be afraid…

The Bridge
I believe
it might be called
King Philip Bridge
although the name
doesn’t matter
except it’s got a name
that’s regal
and she told me
she had stopped there once
when police were searching
for two people
who had jumped
to their future off
this majestic bridge
and now she had stopped
on her way here
and had taken such photos
such beautiful photos
that she cited Ansel Adams
and I thought not nearly so
but told her yes
I could see it
could see what she meant
and it was no lie
and I’m thinking amid the beauty
and the karma and the zen
where did those poor souls go
there was irony that day and night
that day I’d asked her to let me know
if she had arrived safely
and she’d said no
but then she did
she let me know
that she was alright
and more irony that night
on the night when night
became the darkest night
that young girl came with me
to Zen and to Karma
and one human being
was kept alive thereby
for at least one more day
and perhaps one night

or was this in my mind
i think it was in my mind
perhaps it’s only
in my mind

the bridge was named I believe
after an Native American chief
that sort of king
a redskinned king
not a paleface king
a king with no castle
defeated
without a home
a real king

such beauty yes I saw it
in her photographs
but also
as I drove two weekends past
to Boston on the pretence
of seeing old friends
but really to see her
and I thought of her as I drove
along the Mohawk trail
and over that bridge of beauty
that bridge of sorrow too
with its white granite towers

and i think that perhaps
her photos and the driving
and the talk of poor people
who took the plunge
to who knows where

the talk of how she stood
so high and on slippery walks
in order to snap and snare
such beauty that Ansel
would answer YES this is it
that somehow this YES
that this witnessed
beauty
helped
form these words

So today I’ll seek
that haunted span
and overcome my fear of heights
and plumb the depths of sorrow
and look way down
and look far up
because love gasps
and love grasps
and love drowns
in that place where current
runs deep
where current runs strong
and helicopters hover
and wait at the gate
for when the next knave
knocks upon love’s
topaz door
and seeks
guidance
from love’s
compass
needle

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One thought on “The bridge

  1. Nice, Nick. Hope you’re doing okay and getting your ms. ready for pub.

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