Poems are the way I seek something lasting in transience. My original idea for the thesis was to write a compilation of poems that revolved around my hometown of Newark, New Jersey, so that the poems could stand as representations of underrepresented beauty. As the process unfolded, the poems began to be about many things. I still think, though, that some of the most important of these poems find their setting in Newark. The poems of this thesis, ”In Transit,” are interested in dislocation and geography. Many of the poems are about literal moments of transportation: time spent on trains, buses, and airplanes. What all of these poems are concerned with is how to glean some permanence in the midst of change. The image I go back to often is that of a tree growing in the city; it is for me at once a symbol of resilient, uncommon, and often unnoticed strength, but also of something that is always in the process of encountering resistance to stability. Thus, the city tree recurs throughout these poems, which—if they hold anything else in common—is an obsession with memory and the movement of time.
The Red Line
At that verge when evening is not yet night
and the day is restless as to its end,
the train moves in the flow of the city.
Tired hands strain against the bars,
feeling the stress of weight bearing upon tracks.
An urban slumber suspended into a punctuated line.
Anonymous voices greet the passengers