the first time I took the ferry to staten island___-

Poems by New Yorkers posting on holiday from the Long Trail / Appalachian in Vermont. Seth Warner Shelter, August 31th, 2014
He was one of the ten or so Williams College freshman at my shelter – a young man with a sparkle. I was surprised by his ease at chatting with me – the Prof – or so they had anointed me the night before. I had a feeling he would write one, but in the evening only Brad did. In the morning Story asked for the notebook. One freshman wrote the painful truth, and the other wrote… well you’ll see. I’d like to have heard from the others.

The first time I took the ferry
to Staten Island, I fell asleep
on the deck and dreamed that,
in the bowels of the boat
     I was on,
there was a man shouting
words into a furnace. His face
and arms were covered w/ sweat
and he wiped his face with a rag
at intervals. The words made sounds
when they were dropped into the fire.
Short ones, like cud or pox, let out
little squeaks and giggles and grunts.
Longer ones, like mildew, made longer
moans. Establishment, a deep, puncturing
groan. Miasma, a hiss.
It was sad to see the words
burn up, but I knew they were
what kept our ferry going.

When I woke up, we had almost
arrived. The man next to me
asked if I was alright. Apparently,
my face was pale and clammy.

Now’s the time where I tell the truth.
I had no dream. There was
     no man.
I have never been to Staten Island.
Be careful what you read–
words can only take you so far.

Read a poem by Mick (Fisherman)

One Response to The First Time I Took the Ferry to Staten Island: Story P.

  1. BOBBY FRENCH says:

    Ah, yes, Brad’s beautiful, heart-breaking poem. This one proves there is a lot of talent at Williams College.

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