Middle C (Greenwich Village)
Concerning The Church of the Ascension
Your afternoon with its arch & fountain
in the middle, chess tables, & sunlights
response across Washington Square. Paused
at the crossing of a cathedral
& June, three pretty
alternative undergrads recite
the best lines from American punk, map
all the way from NYU into the Village; the place you buy an orange
& reconsider those Sundays
on your knees with the ascension,
when the Heavens broke apart
for the substantial
open spaces & thoughtful
glitter off each apprentice year.
Now the unreserved laughter
their false starts leaves the crosswalk, passes
green aisles of gingkos & the Episcopal
of your favorite
teahouse brunch. A fast Jetta pivots
against the light & you pull back
the last gingered stitch of rind. Further than they are, now Ascensions tower calls
Greenwich & The Square to lunch, declares
this as your better enda tableside
perspective with sexy
bowls of Thai egg noodles;
coffee thick with your devotion
to girls & conversation & one blonde
teaspoon of sweet condensed milk.
For me, poetry is the response to what are often simple, yet commanding, occurrencessuch as an affecting scene from a favorite movie. The most gratifying ideas are those which increase and reach, inexplicably, for one or more seemingly disparate elements of my life and draw them into the piecewith this poem, love; guilt and privilege; a passing lament for the recklessness of adolescence. In these moments, poetry surpasses a string of lines and stanzas written on a page; poetry becomes the medium through which I (perhaps, we) celebrate this lifes great joys, and overcome its disappointments. Middle C is from a series of poems which reflects on large and small human abstractionsnotions such as joy and loss, or salvation and sensuality. The sequence was inspired by jazz compositions and intervals on the musical scale, as well as the historic churches of Manhattan Island.
Todd Pederson is a technical writer for a biomedical research corporation in Chaska, and a student in the MFA program at Hamline University. Todd lives in Eden Prairie with his wife and two children, whom he thanks for their patience and inspiration.