Distant Voices

Young men stand on street corners, their clothes expensive, their cars impractical, wildly colored, and they will do anything but put a piece of another piece in a certain place. —Toi Derricotte, from “Whitman, Come Again to the Cities” (This shot is from “Visitors,” a new, ongoing series of photographs taken on the Boston subway.)


Over the half-finished houses night comes. The builders stand on the roof. It is quiet after the hammers, the pulleys hang slack. Giants, the roofwalkers, on a listing deck, the wave of darkness about to break on their heads. The sky is a torn sail where figures pass magnified, shadows on a burning deck. —AdrienneContinue reading “Builder”

Swallowed Like Jewels

WHITE, WHITE COLLARS We work in this building and we are hideous in the fluorescent light, you know our clothes woke up this morning and swallowed us like jewels and ride up and down the elevators, filled with us, turning and returning like the spray of light that goes around dance-halls among the dancing fools.Continue reading “Swallowed Like Jewels”


See on the canals Those vessels sleeping. Their mood is adventurous; It’s to satisfy Your slightest desire That they come from the ends of the earth. — The setting suns Adorn the fields, The canals, the whole city, With hyacinth and gold; The world falls asleep In a warm glow of light. —Charles Baudelaire, fromContinue reading “Voyagers”


Day after day, along with his placid automobiles, that well-groomed sallow young man had been waiting for me, as in the cheerful, unchanging weather of a billboard—pacing the tiles, patting his tie, knotting, un- knotting the façade of his smile while staring out the window. He was so bad at the job he reminded meContinue reading “Showrooms”