Home > Poetry > Taking the Sun in a Carpark Beside the East River
Published: Wed Apr 15 1992
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
Taking the Sun in a Carpark Beside the East River

I lie beside the five old regulars
whose lips are white as Jolson’s; coconut drifts
from the Naugahyde skins. Opposite, a gold lamé hip
pushes out Brooklyn, blocks Queens. Waft
of roach powder. Seaplanes slalom over her thighs,
splash down behind her shadow face. Her legs
are reflected in a pool of last night’s rain; nymph
in a Pompeian garden over which
the 14th St. power station huffs a cotton bole.
The five old men become five old cars. Later,
they reincarnate as five old ladies parked
in one void space. On the Drive the same cars whirl
round and round the island against a backdrop
of the last Trump. At my eye level, grit and glass
glint like heaven’s floor. I raise my head
in time to see a cormorant from another age
still finding graceful sustenance, appearing and
disappearing, in water close to black.

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Brian Swann has published many books in a number of genres: poetry, short fiction, children’s books, translation, and Native American studies, including Words in the Blood: On Translating Native American Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 2011) and his most recent poetry collection, In Late Light (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). He lives in Manhattan and Vega, New York. (updated 10/2013)

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