Harlem River Anthem
Sludge shive to the Hudson's circuitry, its skeleton tides
warp past salute cityslickers' car tires and black liquor store
bags. Hull rot. Engine stain for the psyche. Fecund with vanity,
no New Yorkers dare claim immunity stricter than its oarsmen.
Bending their oars into the seamy pry of eel-churned waters,
they claw past the corpses of men and women given to leaps
of howling despair from the George Washington Bridge. Out of the fog
appears Columbia University! Baleful blue Lions accelerate
chase launches to full throttle, shudder of fattened wake batters
against the hulls of New York University, Fordham, and Manhattan crews.
Hail the latter's mainships charting the quagmire of dead dogs, spent needles,
mealy newspapers, loose boardwalk slats, dirty diapers,
and ghosts! Off to starboard, just past “C Rock” float Henry Hudson
and his son Oliver. Speechless in their mutinied deaths, the Dutch discoverer
of New York City watches over the mouth of the Hudson. Now into
the Harlem Shipping Canal swims a fond friend—
this forty-foot Humpbacked whale surfaces to spout a briny 'ello. Row! Row on.
Row out to the Arctic Sea bark the crews' coxswains, steering hard to port
to avoid collision. What fun gargles the whale, dinner plate brown eye gleaming.
Even now the rowers bear up the loose hips of the Harlem River, skirting her
banks with a river turn, and head downcurrent towards Yankee Stadium.
Overcoat to casualty, this beloved river, how many waterfowl roost its banks?
A battery of arms press their hulls overhead, the shark-like shells grimace in line
for the boathouse.