On My Block in Brooklyn

Well we lived on Avenues X and Y
smelling it, not having to question why.
We knew its grievous scent reliably:
the sewage treatment plant on Y and Z.
How ocean winds stank was such a pity.
Now though I thank the guts of the city.
Since looking back, turning over old stones,
its stumbling blocks turned into stepping stones.
Some unanswered questions were the best ones.

On that asphalt I asked flawless questions.
On treeless driveways, between aligned yards
with each yard wide as two really wide cars
I’d see Orion’s Belt…three defined stars,
and feel inspired, and be reminded
of these things I’d ask: “Do I belong here?
Who am I? Why is there a universe?”
And I’d be filled with this head to toe glow
and be fulfilled by what I do not know…

Honest. By this block in Brooklyn, my block
with its brick lookalike rows of row homes
all this shit’s purified, known or unknown.
They called me ‘little kid with the big words’
or more sarcastically ‘The Professor’
and with the lookalike rows of row homes
all so connected yet disconnected,
this mimicked ‘Professor’ with these questions
also connected yet disconnected…

Back on the block, would we have connected?
Were we alike as preadolescents?
Did you raise lots of unanswered questions?
Did you gaze at the star-patterned heavens
all so connected yet disconnected
also connected yet disconnected…
astonished and struck with head to toe glows?
I promised myself and never forgot.
Honest. On this block in Brooklyn. My block.

 

Peter Arvan Manos

About Peter Arvan Manos

The poetry of Peter Manos has been published in Atlanta Review, and in the NY Times' Metropolitan Diary column. He is currently completing a poetry collection called Myriads. He has also published numerous articles in the trade press in the power industry, and works as a strategy consultant in the electric utility industry, specializing in the integration of renewable sources of electricity into the grid. He has a BA in Philosophy, a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Marketing.
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