« Edward Nudelman »

Providence Brick

The city is built from its own clay, marrow and lime.
Monument or prison? Asks the visitor (or guest)
that sits on a steam pipe (Room 1006 at the Biltmore)
propping a head part way out a window far above
an ice rink and a city square. A blanket of river-fire
smoke still hangs on the ground from the previous
night’s revelry. I’m up early with the street traffic
and burping pipes, ten stories of view. I note brick.
Brick, brick, brick. But this is nice brick, piled high
and neatly distributed in the geometry of convenience.
There’s a man below me doing three-sixties with an
arched back, seems to be searching the tops of these
buildings looking for something. But he won’t find
gargoyles in this city of checkerboard brick and mortar.
Then he lifts an elbow and worries his trapezius
with one hand, while the other is used as a pointer.
I’m pretty sure he’s met my eye. Do I wave or remain
incognito? Has he found a guard post or just more brick?
I duck reflexively. My wife’s up now, rattling the toilet
chain. The sun has filtered through a wedge between
two enormous brick walls and it pours even more redness
upon brick. Below me, pedestrians flow outside like baby
incisors crowded out by the wisdom teeth of brick.
Citizens peel along sidewalks chafing against the slab structures
lined up along the square like wardens, remaining vigilant
and steadfast, looking for the first signs of a breakout.

EDWARD NUDELMAN is a graduate of the University of Washington and has published two books
on an American illustrator, Jessie Willcox Smith (Pelican, 1989, 1990) . He has received awards for his prose and currently has a short story on Amazon Shorts. His poem, “Cigar-Scented Book” appeared in the December, 2006 issue of The Orange Room Review. Mr. Nudelman owns and operates a successful rare book company which specializes in nineteenth century English and American literature, in the Boston area. He is currently working on a book of poems. His poetry is upbeat, imaginative, pleasantly deep with many layers, and speaks about life and experience from both sides of the brain.

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