Amanda Deutch’s chapbook Bodega Night Pigeon Riot (above/ground press, 2020) takes the reader on a journey many urbanites know all too well from riding public transit. Deutch utilizes the haiku form to create a continuous poetic stream of consciousness from cover to cover via the experience of riding the subway in New York City.
Like riding in the car, riding the subway is a moment where many people wrestle with their thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts are a diagnosis of the self, other times they are external, a commentary on the troubles of the world around us. Examples of this in Bodega Night Pigeon Riot are the acknowledgement of a former mosque becoming a nail salon, or how New York is a city that makes or breaks all who dare to take a bite out of ‘The Big Apple.’
Deutch portrays this with lines like “the city that makes diamonds or glass out of us all.”
These haikus and sometimes micro poems weave together a larger narrative filled with self-discovery and political commentary. I recommend this to city transplants, east coasters, and lovers of shorter poems that connect into a larger story.