Issue > Poetry
Jessica Greenbaum

Jessica Greenbaum

Jessica Greenbaum's first book, Inventing Difficulty, came out from the Gerald Cable Prize, and her second book, The Two Yvonnes, came out in 2012 from Princeton University Press. She is the poetry editor of upstreet.

Occupy The Poem: Cedar & Broadway

This corner could map the life of the mind itself;
the crossroad of country and city, a bank
on one corner because you need money,
the food trucks with their own digital zippers
(We Have Ginger Tea!), the sidewalk
protestors noisy as a distracting obsession,
the sudden pigeon like a stray thought
beginning and ending its idea from arbitrary
heights, the window squares around it
like the trellis of the psyche's open cage,
the ambient sirens and drums like the
warnings and factory thrum of persistent
consideration, the margin of police to filter
taboo, the view down the narrow street,
sinewy as a long sentence, and ending
in the exclamation mark of a sculpture called
Group of  Four Trees, and when I visit them,
I see they are fenced off—so alone!—
the monumental facades of the federal and
financial buildings compacted as if the grid
itself had been compressed, then interrupted
as we need such forces to be interrupted,
by a triangular sand oasis of sculptures
called Shadows and Flag, where a woman
leans against one chatting on the phone
and some office workers eat lunch, one
tilting her face into the sun, and I walk back
to the corner to wait for the musicians,
people gathering like attention beside the
70-foot red steel sculpture called Joie de Vivre,
the swell of tents and tarps like the cluster
of accrued understandings that create
clear reasoning, the mind's industry on day
53, settled in a small and vulnerable space.

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