Stacy Szymaszek: The Bridge

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, Open Space has commissioned a number of new works from artists and writers. Please welcome poet and artistic director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York Stacy Szymaszek.


Be with me, St. Francis, now —
witness before the charter ends
my midlife specter

Of mixed descent sun and moon aligned
king tides gleam on the mall
all the invisible heart valves pumping
and yawning, look for the swimming
base of a friend, the hand of man
has not spoiled these pictures

I find on this international orange
a scrap of writing, precursor to morning
love of French idiom, not spoken since
I was “Rochelle” with high school sorority

Renounced too much, too stubborn
a lover, exile here, more absolute than
this view of the super moon — too much
waiting for dawn to clear the frontier

Faith not fear that my chevrons will equal
the length of my service, my tendons lock
to correspond with a third body, an unorthodox
montage, a projected life-wish

King tide me witless, hearing it near, Madonna
Mia, paternity boils the water and now
I see still white birds turn into moving ones
from a brick of hash erroneously mailed
to the office, I was saying to myself




                    St. Francis
                    on a ship
                    gazing toward
                    the last
                    to rally




Between two worlds I head
to Sausalito, a record of more —
dinner of fresh lamb, a fruit
torte clumsily cut, unlike me
not to have my camera

For series upon series, inmost sob, call
the abyss quits, not as easy for a dog
to find a new person, stray shot
to replicate the aggressive return of
adoration, took root in her heart
a two-fold structure, par excellence

An herb, a pick between salty teeth
night commuters deadlock after
the first dreamy period, a mass
of sameness, the devil adds a deadline
to get within the boundaries of the healthy
lose the calm of lazy thinking, dusty rose
pants, an over-expenditure, I miss her

Perhaps tomorrow’s moon will grant us
El Rio cleared of war, I do it for the fairies
of old, the devil never grants immortality
my vow in infinite suspension
and tension, my indraft spray painted
to compliment my environs, however
Diablo whips my use-value to size




                    500 years
                    recalls me
                    to my love
                    encamped at
                    one end and
                    then the
                    other end




Advocate for wind energy, I charter
a well-featured woman outside my rank
but sleep on my own crooked arm, safe in
the headlands from eddying breath, think bike-
lane is birth-lane, my memory of failing
as oar-man beckoned and destroyed by
this canticle of the sun morning

Chain of signifiers, those men who kissed me
then took their lives along an inland sea
there, I’ll read again, an act of commemoration
primal community-scan, a butch parable
theater of the absurd, and its double
if the junk fits, and burns blue, flame it
in a cloud, store the sail, swear
by the Savannah, after noon

Five blisters, five wounds of St. Francis
and some eye disease, imagine fair trade
of stigmata for infection, some truth
to be tortured out, blood as ready-made
a pieced together habit under a vitrine




                    few summits
                    without hermitage
                    past slogans
                    awoke all the arts
                    little city
                    have sympathy
                    this year
                    those whose
                    are never near




Do the dream-work, you’re down someone —
night urges passage, habit of wearing
a blue knit hat at odd temperatures
so you know who the stevedores are
my emotionally relevant cue, in fact
nothing explains my arousal

The soles of this good boot will outlast
new alliance, do you dump a palliative
white powder on my face? I do when there
is no such ingenuity, or touch up crew
take a rubbing of plaques, thought crime
of dropping a satchel of paper ash

Engineer whose passion was
poetry, his passage “the task was done”
Chrysopylae, I have my true
appointment, sweet little place
on Pineapple, acceded to it, shuttling
in the amplitude of time, see it cordoned
and make like shoals of fish —
the purpose, green eye shadow, a crown,
to kiss the ground, one shore beyond desire

                    to merge
                    with what


– Written after the “Ave Maria” section of Hart Crane’s The Bridge,
May 5, 2012


Stacy Szymaszek is the author of Emptied of All Ships and Hyperglossia, both published by Litmus Press. She is also the author of the chapbooks Pasolini Poems (Cy Press), Orizaba: A Voyage With Hart Crane (Faux Chaps), and the forthcoming austerity measures (Fewer & Further Press), among many others. She is the artistic director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, and she lives in Brooklyn, about two miles from the Brooklyn Bridge.

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