When Gertude Stein Came to Brooklyn

The barricades attach themselves to barricades on West Street on the Brooklyn waterfront. The flagwoman holds her sign she loves the barricades she hates the trucks and she blows on her whistle her whistle her whistle. The laborers work with one another they flirt with one another they work and they flirt. Inspectors inspect one another.

The sky shines white the buildings shine silver the new sliver building shines silver as a dime and pierces the sky beyond Brooklyn.

Trees behind barricades mean nothing to anyone they mean something to the arborist and nothing to the laborers the laborers want to knock down the barricades all the barricades all the time.


The laborers flirt they hurt they have fights they fight and they flirt they don’t see the arborist the arborist is behind a barricade the barricade must be knocked down.

A pickaxe is a pickaxe a pickaxe is only a pickaxe    A shovel is useful for digging trenches a trench is useful for holding pipe. Water is useful for drinking. Water is turned off city water residents want water the laborers put in the water they shovel they pickaxe they lay pipe they offer water they don’t think of trees. Trees stand behind barricades they are visible they are visible to the arborist who stands without a pickaxe.


Filed under Arborist, Culture, Fiction, Jean Zimmerman, Nature, New York City, Poetry, Trees, Writers, Writing

2 responses to “When Gertude Stein Came to Brooklyn

  1. Thanks for the reminder Diane. I’ll try hard to make it.

  2. Diane Alden

    Good afternoon Jean,

    You may remember me as the guide from Wildflower Island. As you know I loved that post that you did and have been faithfully reading all of your very interesting and enjoyable posts ever since.

    You may have noticed my postings on TANN about I Love My Park Day that will take place this coming Saturday. It occurred to me that you might enjoy stopping in and observing our work of trying to reduce the invasive plants on the trail, including the vines strangling the trees. You could consider taking some photos and then writing about it – we love post event publicity. I will attach some links so you can see what we are up to and attach our flyer.


    Blog of follow up: http://bit.ly/1StkFJN

    On the home page there is a blog by my neighbor “Why do I work on eliminating invasive weeds” http://www.aqueduct.org

    Blog of our event last year with photos: http://aqueduct.org/news/i-love-my-park-day-2015-success

    My very best regards,

    Diane Alden


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