The Bourse


Urban sketching event at the Bourse in Olde City — pen and watercolor

City Limits

Habitual return into lands
of outer Philadelphia
highway along reeds and pale water
grey a source for exhale, exile
power plant giants call the edge
their home — these late afternoon
hauls and winding hum from lane
to dust-shaded pavement darkened
in deep-thought rain — always the bridge
is its blue, and its criss-cross beams ushering
lines of purring vehicles into city
limits — if paid attention to, the continuation
of palette over squat, viscous skyline —
“I am always here for your ponderance,
but not always worthy” — moving
makes reckoning, finds vantage point
in the continuum — smeared sky where
lit-white opaque of smoke stays
low, becomes everything else.


Down Cumberland the kiddie pools have been emptied, deflated, dragged indoors and the old trees are lingering with slow leaves as dusk catches up inch by inch. Past the steepled church of dark red brick that stretches up into the twilight kind of streetlight and its sign that jokes: “Sign broken. Come inside for message,” which has been up for months — past the church at the end of the block the cobblestones begin, stumbling their wide way left and right up Trenton. The uneven sidewalk leads from stoop to stoop, and the houses loom up together, tall with gilded numbers, faded American flags, planters with the vestiges of blooms, windows with cats and conversation pieces and handmade bows. Down Cumberland the men stride out of doors with medium-sized dogs and the women sit out and talk loudly about work while smoking cigarettes, and the ice cream truck makes it last sad attempt at luring customers as its nursery tune fades around the corner, and the kids hide from their fathers at the end of the block until they are called with a holler. And when everything becomes quiet in Fishtown, you can hear the wind begin the season as it takes the first leaf down.

(Poets & Writers’ prompt was to write a piece about a street name. I chose my own — sorry this is late, Gagan! <3)