Brooklyn’s First Tunnel, 1844-1860


The day the last brick was laid over my mouth,
My rails and ties pulled like old teeth, the furrows
In my floor left like hollowed gums, I was safe

Inside this vaulted peace. The steam trains long
Gone, took with them my guttural roar, crowds
Of parasoled ladies, top hatted gawkers and dull

Comments on my short length or arched roof —
My youth and all the chance I had for greatness.
What stole my voice was the newer breed, who

Did not like the ferry from Manhattan. The rails
Were nice to ride — six hours over wild moraine
Glaciers had deposited, where foxes stalked

Pheasants, egrets flew. But then came a day-long
Sail to Boston from Long Island over open sea,
Bit by foggy breath of seasons. Besides, Robber

Barons, with titles to Connecticut’s shore, thought
Better to line their silk pouches with more Gold: No
Mercury yet lived asleep in stone, stars had not yet

Shown indoors. Stations grew across East River in another
Wild of woods and farms beyond that town. I was quieted
before my voice was young, bankrupted. I am hidden, safe.

This poem was first published in Big City Lit.


All Articles, Poems & Commentaries Copyright © 1971-2017 Alyssa A. Lappen
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Alyssa A. Lappen is a U.S.-based investigative journalist. She is currently Managing Editor at the Leeb Group. A former Senior Fellow of the American Center for Democracy (2005-2008); she is also a former Senior Editor of Institutional Investor (1993-1999), Working Woman (1991-1993) and Corporate Finance (1991). She served six of her 12 years at Forbes (1978-1990) as an Associate Editor. Ms. Lappen was also a staff reporter at The New Haven Register (1975-1977). During a decade as a freelance, her work appeared in Big Peace, Pajamas Media, Front Page Magazine, American Thinker, Right Side News, Family Security Matters, the Washington Times and many other Internet and print journals. Ms. Lappen also contributed to the Terror Finance Blog, among others. She supports the right of journalists worldwide to write without fear or restriction on politics, governments, international affairs, terrorism, terror financing and religious support for terrorism, among other subjects. Ms. Lappen is also an accomplished poet. Her first full-length collection, The Minstrel's Song, was published by Cross-Cultural Communications in April 2015. Her poems have been published in the 2nd 2007 edition of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust and both 2007 issues of Wales' award-winning Seventh Quarry: Swansea Poetry Magazine. Dozens of her poems have appeared in print and online literary journals and books. She won the 2000 annual Ruah: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry chapbook award and has received a Harvard Summer Poetry Prize and several honorable mentions. Alyssa A. Lappen can be reached at alyssaalappen@alyssaalappen.org

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