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46th and 8th Ave

by Julie Adams


Under the concrete
cloud above, a
solitary pigeon
feeds on day-old rice

despite morning traffic,
school kids, venders, trucks
unloading goods, perishables,
vans transporting shoppers
deep into our Chinatown microcosm,

he feeds alone.

Between his desperate coo's,
echoing off graffiti
I hear the slight tapping, scratching
of beak, feet, scurrying, pecking
one rice grain, and another, one
at a time, in rapid succession;

"the early bird..." is a lesson he's learned.

His age shows
like salt and pepper temples,
he may be nearing 30, but he's lonely
in his old age,
at least today, though they say
most pigeons mate for life.

An ominous wind
gusts leaves into pirouettes,
twirling around him, like Ibsen's "tarantella"
he is alone, with only the leftovers;
clusters from the Lucky Shanghai deli,
but he does not cower much
under the turbulent sky
for a bird

he must have seen many storms.

The pigeon feathers bear the soot of the city
dusted NY wings, stained
like feathered granite,
a mosaic of speckles upon his head,
a hint of iridescence, pinks and greens shimmer from his neck.

His city camouflage mirrors the sky
brooding overhead, a rainbow lining,
much like his own,

The sky grumbles from a distance
the air is alive, static, erratic,
the rain prepares, mothers rush,
anticipation builds, future looms
and he feeds a broken heart.


10/29/2003

Author's Note: this was originally an assignment, anyone can try: (formula poem--be specific)1. Pick an everyday object 2. Pick an emotion 3. Pick either a person or a type of weather (both play the same role in the piece) 4. Somewhere in the poem, make mention of the future, or allude to it (**HAVE FUN, if you try, lemme know**)

Posted on 10/29/2003
Copyright © 2021 Julie Adams

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Maureen Glaude on 10/30/03 at 12:17 AM

wow. It's so concrete and rich in detail which makes it vivid and genuine. Well done I'd say.

Posted by David R Spellman on 10/31/03 at 07:54 PM

Some really great images in this and though a pigeon be the main subject, so much of this could parallel human endeavors. Your depictions are well presented, both of city life and the bird itself. Very well done.

Posted by Junemarie Roldan on 07/26/06 at 04:46 PM

Great idea turned into a reality, in this wonderful and creative piece. I may give it a shot myself.

Posted by Laurie Blum on 04/12/08 at 08:20 PM

I know this is an old poem of yours, but I found your NYC folder and I love NYC. I had actually been on 46th and 8th! The images are so accurate! Great poem.

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