By Fred Pollack
Partly it was how he talked
or could have. They might have called it “stilted,”
“snooty,” but their emotions
and judgments occur in the space between words,
that void profound and true. And partly
it was his quality
of inattention, lacking the excuse
of a text or call (“Sorry – I’ve got to take this”),
which may have been covert and private judgment,
or shyness grown into something darker …
In any case he would have been disliked
had someone been around to dislike him.
Insert somewhere the image of antiques
in a big former barn beside
some otherwise pointless road.
To youth they seem so tedious, to age
a delight: that halo, shared by such disparate objects,
which comes from lack of context.
He spent his days in mourning for himself,
then, self-disgusted, seeking
other figures to mourn. They were so far away
that by the time he reached them he had
become them. Then they too saw
their lives not with the old
intensity (the intensities of others
seem always strained) but as if
through the wrong end of a telescope:
aestheticized, miniaturized, rid
of any passion but the void;
wearing as I’ve said a kind of halo,
antiphonal to his “So that was me.”
Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. Two collections of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, Chiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc.