BFF. A Poem by Frederick Pollack.

 
 
Bored, with the boredom of eternity,
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade,
and Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch
hang out. They have little in common –
nothing, according to Deleuze –
but shared experience of psych wards
creates a bond. And Sade
is always tickled by the moralism
of his scholarly socialist philosemitic pal.
(“Contracts” for bondage-and-discipline sessions,
the invention of the “safe word”–
parbleu!) Masoch for his part
finds the Frenchman’s wit
instructive, and accepts with grace
his constant teasing; it fulfills a certain need.
 
Like other dead white Europeans,
they float over to America
(which, they have heard, is diverting and unserious).
Sade preens: “My principles have triumphed!
What other people is as devoted to freedom?”
His companion demurs. “It may seem so,
but note: the whip is unpopular,
hypocrisy remains the spice of shame,
tortures are generally banal, and women –
still bound to the paternalism you despised –
are seldom given equal rights to them.
This is far,” he adds, “from the vision
of your revolutionary pamphlet, Citizens!
Yet One More Effort If You Would Be Truly Republican!”
 
The mood of the mercurial marquis
turns. “They’re afraid of their masters,”
he sighs. “Whose existence” –
thus Masoch, disapprovingly – “they deny.”
They are not watching in real time,
ever-tedious, but from the long end of a spectrum
where essences appear like subtitles.
There the prevailing mood is an orange haze;
and the steady pop of small arms
a rhythmic growl, like the machinery
the two friends had expected.
Slowly they realize it is a machine,
dispensing souls to each side of the trigger
before they need determine their own nature.

 
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.

 
 
robin@artvilla.com
PoetryLifeTimes
Poetry Life & Times

editor@artvilla.com
www.artvilla.com
Artvilla.com
 

Housing. A Poem by Frederick Pollack

 
 
 
Dead poets wake in a tremendous castle,
all dark beams, fireplaces, stone stone stone.
Pop-era people flash on Middle-earth,
but older types (like Byron, deadly with boredom)
set them straight. They point out and explain
runes, the wolf and ouroboros
motifs, the giant scattered meadhorns
and outsized chairs – this is
Valhalla. Someone academic, peering
through a window-slit at a misty waste,
asks where the heroes are, who train by hacking
each other apart all day, then drink all night?
Not to mention the Valkyries …
And Coleridge, more than usually stoned,
laughs, Do you think someone would fight for us?
(At which Petőfi and D’Annunzio
frown.) But now the latest crop of dead
nag about dinner. Since most of the place is a freezer
and always full, they’re well-supplied
with venison and auroch, though Marianne Moore
says yet again she would kill for a salad.
Something possesses Ashbery, who tries
to pull an ornamental sword
from a wall, and collapses. Where –
someone asks inevitably – are the gods?
But not even the oldest inmate,
not Pound or the Beowulf-poet, knows
they are off forever trashing the Cabaret Voltaire.

 
 
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.

 
 
robin@artvilla.com
PoetryLifeTimes
Poetry Life & Times

editor@artvilla.com
www.artvilla.com
Artvilla.com
 

Word. A Poem by Frederick Pollack

 
Initially the inscription
was thought to be ideograms,
then letters, then some intermediate stage,
insofar as that progression
could be assumed, here. All admired
the whimsical beauty
of the forms, their discipline,
the paradoxical impression
of urgency. Computers
would soon enough resolve
the question and the larger mystery;
but some researchers
 
perversely wished
the issue could be left
to imagination, their sense
of what had been said.
They questioned if the matrix were, in fact,
cliff, or had once been a wall,
say of a palace. They felt,
given the strangeness, that it hardly mattered
if the obstacles were grit, heat, earthly
distances, or vacuum, cumbersome
suits, hundreds of light years and the problems
of work in vacuum and with so much past.
They wondered if the inscription
had been written by no one
but was itself life carving
itself, and whether they
were both the message and its addressee.

 
 
 
Fred Pollok
 
 
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.
 
 
www.facebook.com/PoetryLifeTimes
www.facebook.com/Artvilla.com

robin@artvilla.com
editor@artvilla.com