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Revival John Horvath Jr

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John Horvath Jr

AboutThePoems: I'm unsure how and if these poems should be categorized as a group. They are new poems except for Hoosier Duck Hunting which was published in the 1970s in Oyez Review (a Chicago magazine), back when I was starting out. Duck Hunting is a particular favorite of mine that has not appeared on the net. A unrepentant Freudian psychologist might say I am Malachai (I spit in his eye!); the Easter Traveler is another kind of Malachai who enjoys somewhat the notoriety of failure which we all share (next poem please). I hope you will enjoy these poems ......



MALACHAI AMONG the WANDERERS

An old man sucks from the bottle of his ferment

at two brutishly before the meridian; he waits

for a muse to grab his groin, tremble him

into poetry but the lights glare

what comes

are the Wanderers

of too many colorless

dreams, blank screams

of thrashing limbs.

The Wanderers

shouldering large sacks

of things never done

in places unvisited,

chances not chanced.

He smells them,

crotches of wet

wet horses ridden

then stalled without care;

he does not care

where he sits

imprisoned

in flesh

barred by his bones.

What comes

are Wanderers

overdressed in

inaccurate gray,

pearls in their eyes,

moaning his mistakes.

He watches them

skirt through shadows

under the drapes of his lashes.

So many nights

So many nights

of vomited misuse.

So many nights

sharing his wine

with the Wanderers.

So many nights

studying the metrics

of never success,

the steady trickle

of his fluids running

down alley walls

into sewers.

He is dying

from his useless pointer

upward; from inside,

outward he is dying.

Another damned night

of endless failure

he spends

shallowly

gasping for words

to fill the void

of sleep time

sleepless



WHAT I WAS TOLD BY A TRAVELER FROM THE EAST

Never let it be said we grew ashamed

to weep over grand sorrows --

butterflies never seen beneath clouds

of coal soot on gray mornings when gray

women move through valleys between gray

stolid buildings sturdy as communism

itself, built to last forever. Whoring

too is a rebellion; it reeks of soured

law untouched like bad milk along back-

streets that even the starving reject.

It is never cold in my country where

sunrise greets each morning. Once

in the black coal I saw a diamond

winking from the midst of warm flames.

As you see, my hands are not burnt.

endpoem copyright John Horvath Jr

MIDTOWN REVIVAL AND THE FINGER OF FATE

Wednesday, midweek, after Rose Monday

and Shrove Tuesday pass without notice,

a quiet man appears in Chicago (chosen

because Irish-Catholic); a Wonder Worker

returns but the villagers suffer Lent,

its long fast from belief. He shows

them visions of paradise.

Police atop geldings disperse the crowd

that gathers. Move along. Nothing

to see here. Move along. Morning’s

business traffic reaches high pitch,

drowns out comforting words. Grey suits

passing drop coins at his feet. Shoppers

stare into store windows, try to recall

that face. Was it “As the World Turns?”

A bit part. No! “All Our Children”!

Looks like it’s going to be a scorcher,

reports a passing taxi, its radio loud

cluttering thin air over raging curses

of the gutter class some of whom

urinate against the daylight wall

behind the Wonder Worker, baptized

in their river of night before cheap

drinks. Traffic lights rotate the three

basic laws. Go pause Stop. Beginning

middle and End. This is the One Way.

Two boys in colors stab, rob, then rape

the Wonder Worker. He is left to die

at the Water Tower. A finger points

toward heaven. A street vendor finds

his spot defiled. He shutters: What?

Christ Jesus, not again.



HOOSIER DUCK HUNTING

Green headed beasts have few functions

In society.

The warm autumn

Migrations over the Little Calumet and the Kankakee,

Twenty-four birds flashing victory "V" in the sky,

Hundreds of reed-like barrels pointing heavenward.

The smell of the Little Calumet

With the hapless hungry stuck in slime,

The sewerage, the burnt flesh dried

To the hot, the deceptive slag of steel mills

Smoking, apparently swamp gas, morning haze

To a weary winged duck.

Ducks in the waters of the Kankakee

Visiting briefly where hounds pull apart

Bodies shot by three or more hunters

Who come annually to quarrel over mallards,

Canadians, often even swans, hawks and doves.

(Daddy, can I be a hunter? I asked

Long before the stench of war and empathy

For bewildered ducks bobbing in the waters

Of the Little Calumet and the Kankakee.)

There is a certain time, a certain reward,

A certain mystique in the killing of ducks

Not for food but for pleasure. It is a way

To demonstrate the natural order of freedom or

Captivity. The killing of ducks is allegory,

A lesson: were it not for the hunter, the hunted

Would die in the midst of its living--the weaker,

The slower, the lame and the halt, the sibilant,

The coward, the infamous would survive.

(Daddy, can I be a hunter? I asked

Long before the stench of war and empathy

For bewildered beasts bobbing in the waters

Of the Little Calumet and the Kankakee.)

No, son, my grandfather would say:

Green headed beasts have few functions

In society.

copyright John Horvath Jr



John Horvath Jr.
is a Chicagoan living in Mississippi, a disabled veteran, and a professor in literature and criticism. Since the late 1960s, he has performed his poetry in Munich, London, and across the U.S; his poetry appears in print (e.g. Nimrod and Antigonish Review) and online (e.g. Ariga [Israel] and Isibongo [SA]).
Links: PoetryRepairShop , editor, and his bibliography at [ http://www.horvath.ws ].
On writers: "I'm an eclectic reader: S.T. Coleridge, T.S. Eliot, and Dylan Thomas alongside Akhmatova, Juhasz and Petofi, also Whitman, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti. Favorites change over time."
On writing: The biographical, not autobiographical, and social narratives are a strong influence. Plato said that poetry endangers the established order of the soul; I write from “inside the sinner” where poetry exercises empathy and sympathy, renders the observed more open to discussion, more human, and perhaps more dignified. My technique is sprung or 'ruptured' rhythm: ideas are written in pen, revised into traditional metric/rhyme schemes (not necessarily English), then revised into free verse/lyrical form."
Recent Poetry: Ygdrasil, Moongate, Lynx, , and Ixion.


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