Above the Fray

©2014 CEStankiewicz all rights reserved

While in New York City for work last week, I had an opportunity to extend my business trip and enjoy a mini-vacation, so I took it.

I stayed an extra two days, spending the night at a friend‘s apartment near the Queensboro Bridge. It’s a marvelous place, modest and cozy and full of light, thanks to the living room’s wall of windows overlooking 59th Street and First Avenue.

Whenever I visit, I love to just sit and observe the motion of Manhattan through those windows.

From my perch on the 16th floor, I watched cabs streaming down First Avenue and 59th and across the bridge. I saw a fabulous thunderstorm creep in from the southwest, slowly and ominously filling the space over the skyscrapers with darkening billows of blue-gray. And, best of all, I had a front-row seat to the comings and goings of the Roosevelt Island tram.

Because it’s a commuter service, if you’re watching during morning or evening rush hour, you’ll see it pass back and forth quite often, every 5 minutes or so. Of course, for a shutterbug like me, it provides an abundance of photo ops. But wouldn’t you know it, the one time I didn’t have a camera handy, I spied something unexpected. Because I didn’t rush to find my iPhone or little point-and-shoot Canon, I don’t have a record of what I saw. Well, except for what I wrote about it.



Wide-awake red
against hazy Manhattan morning,
the tram glides into view
two dozen stories above First Avenue
and I’m startled to spy some guy
propped atop it –
blue-uniformed, one leg perched
on the big-riveted beam holding cabin beneath cables;
Washington crossing a river of cabs and commuters.

He looks brave to me.
But as the tram passes I see
he’s simply standing there on the rather wide roof,
catching a ride, I guess, to the other side.
He must just be doing his job,
checking mundane mechanisms,
gears and belts and wheels,
ready to find and fix
any glitch in the system.

I happened to look up and spot him,
but did the passengers know
he stood guard over them?
Island to island,
a solitaire sentinel,
arms left loose at his sides–
heroic enough for not holding on,
this Manhattan mechanic.

Probably I alone
witnessed his sureness
for those few minutes
on the Roosevelt tram rooftop
when he was King of the World –
or at least
the Upper East Side.

©2014 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

©2014 CEStankiewicz all rights reserved


©2011 CEStankiewicz all rights reserved The Well-Versed Mom


They’ve got a trampoline
and bicycles
a pool just down the street

a cabinet full of art supplies
a chess set that’s complete

a couple shelves of good books
a library nearby

a sibling and a hamster
and games in good supply

a best friend ‘round the corner
and another right next door

a basketball
a volleyball
a soccer ball
and more

a skateboard and a scooter
a fishing pole and net

a Frisbee™ and a dog
(that pet we had to get)

a front yard with a tree to climb
a back yard with a swing

a water hose
a sprinkler
balloons to fill and fling

a Game Boy and a Wii
a stereo, CDs

a laptop and a tv
a zillion DVDs…

With all these things to play and do,
I have to say I’m floored

to hear that dreaded, dreadful phrase –
you know the one:



©2010 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

Guest Post: Peyton Price of Suburban Haiku (feat. a book giveaway!)

suburban haiku book, haiku, poetryToday, as National Poetry Month draws to a close, there’s a special treat in store for you.

Peyton Price, poet/author of the new Suburban Haiku: Poetic Dispatches from Behind the Picket Fence has delivered a few fresh haiku, as well as your chance to win some POETRY SWAG.

A resident of suburban Maryland, Peyton’s been capturing the essence of the ‘burbs in haiku form (three lines that employ a total of 17 syllables, broken into phrases of 5-7-5) for quite some time now, and she’s elevated it to high — and hilarious — art. Some of my faves from her book:

I keep a close eye
on the hummingbird feeder.
Yep. It’s still putrid.

For tonight’s potluck
please mark what is Gluten-Free
so I don’t eat it.

Dare I say something?
I think her carpool “conflict”
is hating carpool.

Now that you’re all warmed up, let’s get to the giveaway. We’re challenging you to create a mashup of a movie critique and a haiku: a haiku review.

Get inspired by the following examples from Peyton and yours truly, then visit the comments section below to post your own movie review in haiku form (three lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables). Enter as often as you like in the next week. Contest ends May 7, 2014. All entries will go into a pool and one randomly drawn poet-winner will get their very own copy of Peyton’s adorable-but-subversive little book.

From Peyton:

Like Hunger Games, yes
but with sexual yearning.
(What? That guy is hot!)

The audience laughed!
In fact, there was some shushing
from embarrassed kids.

From me:

Tobey’s got talent –
Nimble in Spandex; good at
upside-down kissing.

Have fun — and thanks for playing!



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