The Poetry of Amanda Halkiotis


I wait inside a tunnel like Estragon for some bright white light to whisk me away.

I have nowhere to go.

I enter the first doors that open in front of me, a local train.

It barrels me underground back to my side of the river, my home.

I walk past the Western Union with its “Checks Cashed” sign still blinking, creating a neighborhood red light district.

I cross the street and continue walking uphill.

I’ve carved a cave out of concrete here on this block and I am walking home.

Before I knew where to buy deboned swordfish or how to argue in Polish the price of laundry drop-off service, I found my own hardwood room and Moon River fire escape

where I could curl up and do what little girls do best in this city: dream.

I grew up walking these streets as a small-town tourist, and now that I’ve moved here I can pride myself in carrying thirty pounds of groceries thirteen blocks

and avoiding Times Square.

I let go of my rural instincts to trust my surroundings and started from scratch

with second guesses.

Within a month I had quickened my stride and widened my shoulders, muttering a mantra of hands outta pockets, eyes offa ground, hands outta pockets, eyes offa ground.

If I wanted to stay hidden half-protected in a man’s shadow then I would still talk to my father. Instead I crossed the state line.

Besides, this city collects young girls and their mangled childhoods like lint and if I really want to leave behind everything that happened to me once upon a swingset,

that means for everything else I’m sticking.

The Dutch named this borough for people like me, who needed a place honest and unassuming and a little bit like the home they ran away from: Broken Land.

Amanda Halkiotis

is a creative writer and theater critic who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan. Her poetry is a reminder that no single person is native to this place. We are all visitors in Brooklyn. This is a land of nomads and eager travelers.Read more of her elegantry here.


Nymphont said...

I really liked this. All the poetry on here is so good. Reminds me of New York of course. I love New York. Haven't been back there since... since I was like 13. Too long. I absolutely love it.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!