Painting the river

bucket in the river

The river this morning is a dark & glistening thing. It reminds me of the tar I spread onto a flat roof two days ago: so glossy, smoothing only by a little the pocked & pimpled surface underneath. I spread the tar with an old broom for a brush, sweeping back & forth to work it into the cracks. It was abstract expressionism at its best.

Little Juniata meets I-99

The two spans of the interstate highway cross the river without getting their feet wet. The riverbank beneath them is a desert, littered with empty beer bottles & cans of spraypaint, & filled with the muffled echoes of tires banging over the seams in the roadbed & the fluttering of pigeons in the strutwork.

end of capitalism

A fresh batch of graffiti on the concrete piers touts anarchy, marijuana, & hallucinogenic mushrooms. It’s an attractive thought, to get stoned & stare into the water until the rumble of traffic turns into another river, & those distant abstractions the government & capitalism seem ready to give way & crumble into the current.

Selph

But the only graffiti artist with any skill appears to be working on his or her self-branding, so to speak: the tag Selph appears in half a dozen places, each in a different style. I picture a sylph-like creature, a pale goth who flits from one stoned friend to another, wrapping herself in the glossy wings of the night.
__________

This week’s Poetry Thursday prompt was “rivers” (see the other responses here). Since I had to go into town this morning anyway, I took my camera along. I’m not sure I ended up with a true poem, but what the hell — it was a good prompt.

8 Comments


  1. Poetry? Definitely. The tar and the traffic are surprising illustrations of “river;” I like this a lot: stare into the water until the rumble of traffic turns into another river

    Very nice.

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  2. I think you did quite well.

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  3. It is poem in pictures and those beautiful words. “sheer poetry” I call it!

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  4. There is a place under overpasses and bridges where life has its own rhythms. It’s like a secret that only gets told at night, whispered, and then painted on the very structure itself. Pieces of poems everywhere.

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  5. Very evocative combination of photos and words, especially the staring into the water until the traffic becomes another river, I love that sense of being so lost in the moment it all becomes one. I like the little goth figure who comes in at the end too.

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  6. Thanks for the generous reactions. I wasn’t fishing for compliments, honest!

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  7. poetry in the way the words fit and flowed, poetry in the melding images, poetry in the ampersands –

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