Came the Pyro-technicians
to round out the pageantry of the age.
With the erecting and suspending
of the bridge across Niagara, came the kite-flyers
to draw the cable over to the far shore,
came the Pyro-technicians to show
how the kite’s string, though weak, nonetheless
draws toward Heaven, holds its possessor
fast anchored within the veil, and the bridge
holds its possessor close to the far shore.
And came the Pyro-technicians to show
illumination, stratagem, blue bergamot,
hegemony. And Roosevelt was present, too,
there at that day’s centenary. Does he have
the power not to create the un-liftable stone
that he bears aloft, the 8-angled triangle
unimagined by Euclid — he can, and does!
Yet in the midst of his restraint came barium
for green; came copper for blue; came aluminum,
finally, for silver and strontium salts for red, like Thespians
mirroring the Sun King, or Oberon, bright phosphorus
aflame on Mercury. Came the Pyro-technicians
in town-planning councils in Lansing or Aurora,
stringing dragon kites across the sky,
circular, incessant, calm with linearity, cyclopean —
their dew is on the meadowsweet, green-gold.
Geoffrey Nutter is the author of Cities at Dawn, Christopher Sunset, Water’s Leaves & Other Poems, and other books. He teaches Classics at Queens College and poetry at New York University. He is founder and director of the Wallson Glass Poetry Seminars in New York City.
Hollis Johnson was born in 1993 in New Hampshire. He began pursuing photography in high school before attending the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, which he graduated from in 2015. He is currently based in New York City. His work projects uncanny sterility to banal objects and scenarios presented in tableau — snapshots of America drenched in sunlight yet trapped in antifreeze. His images narrate a lyrical world only just slightly askew of our own.