Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Paterson: Book II, Chapter I, p. 52-53

Mount (Mount)
Mount Garrett

Two hundred steps up a dirt road,
and then two hundred more from an old lookout tower
bring you to a flat rock with no trees in front of it. From there,
You have a view of Paterson, the West end of Passaic,
And in the distance (a bit purpled),
New York.

I think everyone looks for the Towers first,
and then they look away quickly, as if their look had caught
the city undressing.
There are plenty of other nice buildings to see:
the Chrysler. Empire State.
The whole lot of them are much closer than you would think,
maybe an hour by train.

There are so few sounds from here,
and although this (mount) is small,
there are no others between here and the City.
New York is flat and static on the horizon and
Paterson moves beneath it, wriggling,
even undulating, it seems,
as the backs of cars appear
and then disappear
between buildings.

But not for anything. It’s just gray and
white and brown and
red roofs and houses and street
lights and streaks of resurfaced asphalt;
an empty and crumbling stadium,
an apartment building with dark windows and
open, dirty curtains; a half-dozen
cheaply stucco-ed hotels littered near
the Turnpike, all smaller
than the silhouettes that give them
any meaning at all.

It’s a lot to throw out ten miles of _________ ,
but four hundred steps make it easier.
In any case,
the walk back is slowed by the frozen patches of mud that have
thawed while we were taking more pictures
than were necessary.