wire fence
the smell of coal dust
from the barge

—Martin Gottlieb Cohen

"wire fence" is a memory of one of those detached experiences that is more than the sum of its parts...where at once everything that was familiar becomes strange and new as if it was seen for the first time.

I was ten and walked over the foot bridge to a narrow park that was between the east river and F.D.R. drive, a 40 mph highway that outlined the east side of Manhattan.

cyclone fence ~
the sound of cars passing
near the river

I slowly walked up the park and could see our third floor apartment window. The red bricked building looked exactly like the other buildings of the Jacob Riis projects except that it was much smaller. I could see my bedroom window that faced a parking lot and a much taller red-bricked complex. It was Con Edison's power plant that dominated the sky with its three smoke stacks, where one stack was twice the size of
my six story apartment house. The complex produced electricity for Manhattan.

I would come to where the park ended and the the three black cranes with their steam shovels would scoop coal out of the barge and swivel to the opposite side. Empty dump trucks would wait in line to be filled up with the coal which was like dry silt. I remember the tall wire fence and me
looking through one of the wire loops and smelling the coal dust in the damp air as the barge would rub up against the piling from a passing tug.

on the windows


Haiku originally published on the tenth of April 2001 at Tina Stanton's "moments..." site.

About the author: Martin Cohen was born in the South Bronx somewhere on Simpson Street, went to a Yeshiva on East Broadway and Canal Street, and then lived in the South of Brooklyn, the South of Long Island, The Southern Tier of Upstate New York, The South of Manhattan, and finally South Jersey in Egg Harbor.

Martin's e-mail address: martin1223 at comcast dot net

Martin also has a weblog.


Responses to the haiku for 19 June 2001 by Martin Gottlieb Cohen

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-09-27 08:10:18

    don't fence me in...
    the children at play
    so full of life