See You On The Bridge

by Harvey Taylor

The Hoan Bridge spans the Milwaukee River,
connecting the city's north and south sides,
providing a sublime panorama of Lake Michigan
to the east, and the metropolis unfolding to the west.

I regularly cross it on my way to work on Jones Island,
where one of my responsibilities is to meet incoming freighters,
and secure their mooring lines to the pier,
which means I'm usually traversing the Hoan
very early in the morning, when traffic is light, and
I can slow down, to scan the horizon for ships…
        I've become so enamored of
        the view from the bridge
        that I've been known to pull over
        onto the northbound shoulder,
        the side closest to the lake,
        on my way home from work,
        and fake car trouble, just
        to enjoy a lingering look…
        by the way, I'd just as soon
        you didn't tell the sheriff this story.

Which brings me to the point of this meditation:
why should I have to drive a car up there,
prop the hood open, and pretend
I'm worried about the darn thing blowing up,
in order to commune with this splendid perspective?
Why is Milwaukee's 'Golden Gate' Bridge only available
to motorized vehicles, unlike its San Francisco counterpart?
Why doesn't the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
acknowledge that bicycles and feet are transport
(yes, we want pedestrian access, as well)?
Why, in spite of large numbers of petitioners,
do our 'public servants' delay, obstruct, and obfuscate?
I've never heard of a petition with a single name
on it opposed to reasonable accessibility-
we want the wide shoulders of the Hoan Bridge,
not the cold shoulders of officialdom!

        Years ago, I was amongst the many
        who bicycled and walked across the bridge,
        when we were given the opportunity,
        on some special occasion, which
        I can't remember, it's been so long…
But I do remember how glorious it was to be up there,
pedaling, talking with friends, taking it all in-
and believe me, there's a lot to take in!

        Every one of us should be able to go there
        any time we please, however we please,
        to let that view feed our souls and
        nourish our visions…

We need to think big, and see far!
See you on the bridge,
                                    someday soon,
                                                          at sunrise!

Harvey (Milwaukee) is a poet, musician, longshoreman, long time champion of the disadvantaged.


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