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"Shallow Breathing" is Bushwick Daily's October Poem of the Month — Arts & Culture on Bushwick Daily

"Shallow Breathing" is Bushwick Daily's October Poem of the Month

Here's our October installment of "Bushwick Bohemia Beat Poetry."

Bushwick Daily

Here's our October installment of "Bushwick Bohemia Beat Poetry" curated by Bushwick-born poet, Emanuel Xavier. The series features poems by Bushwick residents. This month's poem comes from Justine Akbari. 


From her outpost on the rooftop of one of Brooklyn’s finest three story walk-ups, she watched the distance assemble

into view. A whisper of smoke escaped her lips as a piece of hair finagled its way across her face.

The howling wind, a forgotten friend.

Flick.

An ember and ash, iridescent and fleeting, like many thoughts she had today.

Indeed, it was a night to document.

A quintessential, windy fall midnight hour—

the time when thoughts amounted to poetic musings of the city’s scenic vista

and the aesthetic of being solitary

in the darkness.

Silence.

Staring out towards the mainland’s skyline she couldn’t help but ponder if this sense of peace and calm meant she had finally arrived.

Cough.

The past two months were lived as if her relocation was simply a vacation —

a vacation from the reality that was her new life.

Moving away from friends and family,

from comfort and familiarity,

all for the sake of living her dream:

Of getting swallowed, chewed, and spit out of the city

with the hope of discovering the one thing about herself that had plagued her existence for years—

finding purpose.

Swallow.

Tonight was one of those moments she had been patiently waiting for;

and so she wrote.

Wind howling

automobiles blaring,

busses groaning

aggravated teenagers asserting —

a citywide cacophony;

a symphony to depict

the ominous night sky, the eerie building shadows

the amorphous, billowing clouds

in a high-speed chase across the

painter’s salient backdrop

A blending

of life’s elements—

a simple

inclination of

what is yet to come

Ambiguity looming,

serenity subsiding.

Unwavering stamina,

persisting

Slowly going broke, unused to waking at the ungodly morning hour alongside the rest of the working class

seeing the routine life,

the mundane life,

that would follow as she did it all again tomorrow

was some semblance of clarity and purpose that life had previously been missing.

Exhale.

Yet she couldn’t help but feel the confines

of routine begin to move in

as a new sense of life was embarking.

Anxious breath.

With the clouds moving swiftly in front of her, the thunder tumbling behind her, and the faint outline of the city

illuminated in a purple hue in front of her

for a very unusual, treasured moment

she felt invincible.


About Justine Akbari

New York City resident in training. Aspiring pantomath. I write what I know.

I'm an anxious twenty-something year old hopelessly in love with humanity and always on the lookout for the next best-known-secret bars and food-havens. I love lattes and literature, urban exploring and unforgiving hiking trips, Thai food and traveling, and writing about everything under the sun. I see life through a very anxious, often over-stimulating lens and I write trying to make sense of it all through my own experiences and reflections on being a woman, being millennial, being a Midwestern transplant and lifelong existentialist. As a half-Persian female, I am inspired by my father to learn more about my Middle Eastern ethnicity, dispel negative ethnic and cultural media perceptions, and strongly promote diversity and inclusion. I currently freelance for a microbrewery in Canada and work full time in B2B media.

Originally from Green Bay, WI and relocating to Minneapolis for college, I have finally taken the leap of faith in following my childhood dreams and moving to NYC, where I currently reside in “the new Greenwich Village” hipster haven that is Bushwick, BK.


Bushwick’s celebrated poet Emanuel Xavier curates this monthly feature exclusively for Bushwick Daily featuring a poem by a local Bushwick resident and/or native. 2-3 poems (10 pages max) can be submitted to emanuel@emanuelxavier.com with the subject “Bushwick Bohemia Beat Poetry Submission”.

Poems should be attached as Word documents, 10 point, Times New Roman font, double spaced and set up as they should appear on the site if selected. Poems can be about anything (not exclusive to Bushwick) but contributors must currently live within the Bushwick area or have been born and/or raised in the neighborhood.

Please include a brief 3-5 sentence bio and your personal relation to Bushwick with your current mailing address for verification. If submitting previously published work, please include appropriate publication credits. Only if one of your poems is selected for online publication will you receive an email.

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Cover image courtesy of Cristobal Baeza

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