“Tunnels of the Broadway Bridge,” by Brian Wood was written in 1998 and published in the book Sleep edited by Robert Peacock and Roger Gorman, Universe Publishing (Rizzoli), New York, 1998. It is a compilation of writings by Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, Jack Kerouac, Lou Reed, Brian Wood, and others.
Tunnels of the Broadway Bridge
A dream dreamed again and again until I made this picture then never dreamt again. From boyhood then: waking into sweated sheets; walking in a sweat of blood. On a bridge: cement piers plowing up a smooth muscled river. Silted, blistering currents pulling silently through our town, the hissing aftertaste every mother’s nightmare. Death-river whispering to young bodies.
Across the bridge. Halfway across. Looking over. A cat is the end of my arm; scratching, tearing, dragging me over. Fighting to shake its searing eyes pulling mind ripping under I’m buried in flesh.
It is my arm.
Writhing, harrowed bone. Dismember me tear me twist me inside out, pull water up into the sky: claws rip at sucking marrow hold onto the sky rushing away and hammer that wedge of stone down into your heart’s throat to gut and kill and love till it stops. Then it’s gone; a woman gyres slowly to the river as if rising.
Quantum leap to the end of the bridge sloping up toward a dark sky: an empty bridge moonlit and silent, my right foot fixed at the center of a white-chalked circle, just the radius of my left leg’s reach.
I cannot move.
A man comes from the other side, each step covers half the distance left, slow yet quick as light, no time passed; suddenly close on my face, my father. His hand raised, he plunges a knife in my thigh, lunging into my reaching flesh, a boar’s tusk buried to the lips.
Instantly out from this hot pouch, this thigh, I’m born and up in a twisting flight of feathers.