Tag Archives: Amanda Gorman

Mapping Gowanus: Carroll st. b/w 3rd ave. & 4th ave.


By Amanda Gorman

Oh, yonder chime the bells of the emperor

Awakening the citizens of an imperial scene

A royal parade of shiny yellow carriages

Which their metal brethren proceed in between


Flowers for the queen giggle in thin green gowns

Muffled by cement petticoats which tie them to the ground

Quite satisfied to ponder, immobile, in a fissure

For a city prince who is nowhere to be found


Perhaps he is in the palace, a church with banners and a fence

Or, more likely, gratified by the safety provided by brick forts

Red cubed restaurants, square stoned walls

In a historic place, according to Colombus’ report


The prince sits warm in Cotta Bene

And he drinks to his pleasure bubbling potions

His chef prepares a dish that could make the desert’s mouth water

Still believe this is just a street? Let’s reexamine your notion


Even the sky blushes in compassion for this kingdom

And pales into a cloud-white pearl to further match

The royal embroidery of milky snow lining the avenue

In more numbers than Cotta Bene’s largest bread batch


The fanfare, a lovely orchestrated symphony for the matriarch

Of car horns, the violin-like sigh of the wind, and percussion of tires

First, as a soft hum with the engine, and a resonating roar against the gravel

Followed by the soundtrack of violent scarlet trucks heeding fires


But before you reach the end of this grand, open palace hall

At the banquet of kinds, the toasty Roothill café

Grab your raincoat cape and your beanie crown

And stop by the royal garden on your way


Where emerald vegetation whispers in the silence

Which amber sunlight breaks with a few well-placed chimes

It may be small, but this garden is worthy of Versailles

For it possesses a magic even an actor can’t pantomime


Cigar buds you say? Heaps of trash?

Dirty snow? Acrid smells?

Perhaps I missed these in my newfound heiress home

But I love it all the same, if not more, just as well


Yet I’m shocked that you do not hear the bells

They are always ringing, the sound gentle but clear

Perhaps the bells of the Gowanus are like my new emperor clothes

Hard to see and hard to hear


You can walk down Carroll street, the worn pavement well-lit

You can sit on 1st St, deciphering why the bells are silent with all your wit

But like everything in life, both the glamorous parts and painful bits

You will not find them unless, from the depth of your heart, a part so deep it is a pit

You are asking, and most of all, believing in it


And that faithful Brooklyn city pleasure

Is greater than any fantasy royal treasure

Because, although to Los Angeles I am loyal

There I may be a peasant, but in NY I’m always royal


Amanda stayed with us and got to know Gowanus while attending the UN Conference on Women and Girls as a delegate. Upon her return to her home in Los Angeles she started a campaign for global education. Visit onepencampaign.org  for more information.