Wednesday, November 18, 2009
the poetics of bridging
in 1988 john ashberry was commissioned to write a poem for a bridge designed by artist siah armajani in minneapolis. what a staggering thing--to be asked to line a bridge, for the structure to make your (line)breaks for you. and oh to be a pedestrian--to walk across all that air and light and read a poem. a real poem: not a society-safe or cutely rhyming piece, but a piece commissioned for this bridge whose language reaches across (and i mean the ambiguity here, i mean both the bridge and the words). yes, bridge poems are for me. and maybe for you. go see the whole shebang here as a slideshow which captures the feel of walking across.
ashbery's full untitled poem:
And now I cannot remember how I would
have had it. It is not a conduit (confluence?) but a place.
The place, of movement and an order.
The place of old order.
But the tail end of the movement is new.
Driving us to say what we are thinking.
It is so much like a beach after all, where you stand
and think of going no further.
And it is good when you get to no further.
It is like a reason that picks you up and
places you where you always wanted to be.
This far, it is fair to be crossing, to have crossed.
Then there is no promise in the other.
Here it is. Steel and air, a mottled presence,
and lucky for us.
And then it got very cool.