Gethsemanes Tucked in and around cities, steeled and grimed, along the coasts, up rivers a short way, just over the seventh of seven hills, or nestled in a corner of a park grown over with tall grass bursting to brambles, vestiges of lost Eden. I've come upon them all of a sudden, and have been lured back, since: In harbor districts, where the port’s long closed; by catacombs, where the garden wall’s half down; away from the main trail, past ruins of a mill or monastery no longer serviced by the bended creek, where there’s no mark of man, where no one’s been for ages. I settle in a spell, watch webs or wildflowers being spun, listen to unseen creatures of the air, and breathe the salt air, or a trace of greening. I’ll take a leaf or twig—and then proceed back how I came, past smokestacks; fences; dumps; potholes, some puddled in oil, others in water; graffiti; beeps of horns and bleeps of trucks— to save awhile, so that on my return home I still taste the wild and green aroma.
James B. Nicola’s poetry and prose have appeared in the Antioch, Southwest, Green Mountains, and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; Barrow Street; Tar River; and Poetry East, garnering two Willow Review awards, a Dana Literary award, and six Pushcart nominations. His full-length collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page (2016), Wind in the Cave (2017), Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018) and Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond (2019). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. A Yale graduate, he is facilitator for the Hell’s Kitchen International Writers’ Roundtable at Manhattan’s Columbus Library: walk-ins welcome!
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