Thirteen Ways of Looking at New Jersey


Among the tri-state area
The only perfect thing
Was the shape of New Jersey.


I was of two minds:
Love it here
Or hate it.


The state holds on to its Colonial dream.
(It's one thing to be proud of, anyway.)


A girl and her beach chair are one.
A girl and her beach chair and sunscreen
Are one.


I do not know which to prefer
The beauty of Cape May,
Or the beauty of the farmlands.


The shadows of New Jersey hover.
Ugly industry. Signs no one can read.
We are more than the Sopranos.


O, singing men of New Jersey, rock on.
Rock on Sinatra. Rock on Bon Jovi.
Rock on, O Boss of Bosses everywhere.
Because these two lanes—
Will take us anywhere.


I know noble accents.
The north Jersey nasal.
The south Jersey twang.
Do we really sound like that?


When the tide rolled out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many waves.


At the sight of the ocean,
Bathed in green light
The seagulls cried out sharply.


We rode over Connecticut
In a hurry to get home.
Pierced by the fear of Route One
The shadow of mall traffic,
And the trucks—
Oh, the trucks.


The Raritan River is moving.
New Jersey must be alive.


It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing,
And it was going to snow.
And going to snow some more. It's January
in New Jersey.

(with apologies to Wallace Stevens.)

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