At This Late Date
It’s noon. Sun rages through the skylight.
I’m hiding from so many things:
in air-conditioning from heat
which, long before one heard of global warming,
I regarded unhealthily as dirt
(and vegetables as mud). From the political future,
the not-so-secret police who must soon come.
From covid and its bearers.
From life, as seniors do unless
they manically embrace it. Perhaps from the memory
of some idiot ideology
of the prosperous years that advocated
living in the moment – Try that now …
Then randomly, in this light, I recall
someone – but I’m sorry, it isn’t
a person, only parts:
the curve of neck and shoulder on a pillow,
the subtle place below where breasts began,
the view obstructed by a younger hand …
Why her now?
Last night a fresh depressing image, sent,
I realized, from the afternoon she left.
So that by day I seem to tabulate
the victories of night, and by night
the defeats of day,
when neither are especially relevant.
They laughed when I sat down to play.
But my opening arpeggio broke
a string and several octaves and they stopped.
The development unleashed
my Scriabinesque color-and-scent-organ
effect, plus touch:
ectoplasmic frotteurs and lap-dancers
assaulted gown and tux. A certain fortissimo
progression confronted them with
the Irreducible; other capitalized nouns
transcended taste itself. Then I hammered them
with subtlety, till by the end
they were lost somewhere wider
and better aerated
than the usual opium den.
Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure (Story Line Press, 1986; to be reissued by Red Hen Press) and Happiness (Story Line Press, 1998), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). In print, Pollack’s work has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Manhattan Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Main Street Rag, Miramar, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Poetry Quarterly Review, Magma (UK), Neon (UK), Orbis (UK), Armarolla, December, and elsewhere. Online, his poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Diagram, BlazeVox, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Big Pond Rumours (Canada), Misfit, OffCourse, Big Windows Review (2020) and elsewhere.