Prime Number Magazine
is a publication of 
Press 53
PO Box 30314,
Winston-Salem NC 27130
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Issue 79, October  2015
Prime Number Magazine is a publication of Press 53, PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130
The Bridge
by Edward McManis

followed by q&a
Second Place: Poetry


​I guess it makes sense,
how the city spreads out
like a picnic tumbled from a 
 Sunday morning basket.
Driving down through
the Sausalito tunnel
 the vista appears suddenly
—a mouthful of champagne—
all in one gulp.
Fog twists like a ghost
couple dancing through
the arches, connecting cables rising 
like the ribs of a giant harp,
plucked by wind.
Promises of afternoon sun
climb behind the layered morning
mist, blue sky creeping
up over Oakland, the outline of 
the other bridge  
     a mouthful of braces
from the second chapter
of a cheaper story. 
Colors magnify off the
water, a natural
HD—sounds carry, the splash
rising from your
back seat, 
    the foghorn a lazy,
grumbling god 
    turning in his bed. 
And Alcatraz, the center-
piece, surrounded by exotic
birds, sailboats, tourists 
glorifying Al Capone, Bird Man, 
clicking digital photos inside 
a 6-by-8 cell just small
enough to crush 
    a soul.
It makes sense
    I guess
how they’re always facing
the city when they jump 
    the infinite
Pacific and all it could be
at their back. How they’re not
jumping down…rather forward
into the Bay
    Toward
Where we gather to stare 
over the edge wondering how
the safety net of prayers
we stitched
    ripped.

Edward McManis is a writer, singer/songwriter, editor, husband & dad. Not always in that order. He’s been published extensively through the years. His most recent Chapbook is Sr. Mary Butkus. He currently is the Head of Sterne School in San Francisco, a small school for students who learn differently. Little known fact: he holds the outdoor free throw record at Camp Santa Maria—67 in a row. He and his wife, Linda, have two sons: Jamie & Sean. If you email him, he’ll send you his hit cult song: “Who’s on the Cover of Oprah.”

Q&A

Q: What inspired this poem?
A: I drive the Golden Gate daily. It’s always spectacular. And, it’s also a suicide destination. Through the years there have been numerous debates about the Bridge and putting a net under it. The cost, efficacy, the social responsibility, all the pros and cons. I was in a coffee shop and overheard someone talking about someone who jumped. They then said something about how they’re (jumpers) always facing the city when they jump—this started the poem. I sat down & wrote it in one chunk, with a few additional revisions. 

Q: What writers or books do you consider influences?
A: Influences? Allan Sherman to Allen Ginsberg, and everything in between. Currently reading Joe Hutchison, Kooser, David Lehman, Linda Lancione. Drawn to narrative poems right now. 

Q: What’s the most important writing advice you’ve received? Is it reflected in this poem?
A: Develop a strong hide (Joanne Greenberg); apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair—at some point you’ll sell out every member of your family. So it goes. Whether conscious or un, all advice leaves an imprint. 

Q: Where do you write? 
A: Everywhere. I’m always working in the little office in my head. I also like the ambient noise of coffee shops, restaurants, book stores.