Adventures of the Dialectic. A Poem by Frederick Pollack

While you sit at a blank page or screen
for hours, brain-dead, something
madly inspired is filling
that whiteness and more. You may be
its hero, your impasse its theme
or only mentioned in acknowledgements;
but rest assured, its work
is brilliant. While you’re dancing
(in one of those scenes I don’t believe in,
having only seen them on television:
flared armpits, flying sweat, the desire
to be a machine and break),
the dialectic is lying
on an unwholesome couch
that subtly fills the sky, your whole era
trying by any means to stop it moaning.
A peasant girl favored,
migrating to the city, by employment
in sex or electronics may perceive,
handling parts, a fine curve linking
them with earlier dung, her secret
sigh a word the future mispronounces.
(Meanwhile the hobbits reveal
their secret plan, their true malignancy,
riding orcs into battle.)
Cleverness grows with time. Now
I’m clever enough not to buy
“the individual” from discount racks,
or anywhere. After several bad hours
you walk out
into context. But context leaves a void,
around which it disposes
cars, humidity,
disordered passing kids, other props and prompts,
the rising seas, fractured storyline.
One only fails into some greater triumph.
You might end there. Not.

Frederick Pollock 1
Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, forthcoming in 2015 from Prolific Press. Has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, etc. Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.
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