Wednesday, April 30, 2014

After Benning Road, Pt. 2

And here is the poem that I had written about the view from the bridge between Stadium/Armory and Benning Road stations on the Orange Line.

The River Always Captures Me

The Blue Line train crosses the river—
on one side the city,
the power plant, and rows
of brick houses, on the other,
the park with its paths
like veins of a broad leaf.
Below a tiny figure walks
a tinier dog.  Someone else
bikes alone.  No one rows

Soon the river will begin
to smell like spring.
More people will walk its paths.
Then it will reek like summer,
a regatta of rowers sweating,
dogs dripping,
tadpoles dying in
drying mud.
In fall, the leaves
will cover the ghosts
as the last rower skims past.

Still later the flat opaque water
will freeze in patches.
From the matching sky,
snow will fall
past the tiny figure
and the tinier dog
that trace the paths
that are like
veins of a leaf
by the river
below the Blue Line.

This poem has been published in Jellyfish Whispers and will appear in Storm Cycle 2013, Kind of a Hurricane Press' annual anthology.

Many many years ago (ok, not that many) I commuted via Metro from Silver Spring to Largo, and one of the highlights of my commute was looking up from my papers or my reading as the Blue Line train crossed the river. For me, a body of water is often a highlight of a journey.  Someday I will write about other rivers and lakes I've passed by on the way to some place else.

Another inspiration for "The River Always Captures Me" was the following film by Daryl Wallace:

I saw that film at the Environmental Film Festival.  Come to think of it, I was also inspired by this film about a man who rowed to work on the Anacostia:


p.s.  Ironically, on the day I went to the DC Poetry Project at the Benning Road Library, I did *not* catch that glimpse of the river I used to enjoy.  Metro, of course, had shut down some stations on the Blue and Orange Line, so I ended up taking a shuttle and therefore another route to the library.

Enjoy the NPS picture of the rowers below.


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