Clamantis and Revised Will – Poetry Submissions by F. Pollack


Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. He has published other poems in print and in online journals.  He is an adjunct professor in creative writing at George Washington University. Poetics: neither navelgazing mainstream nor academic pseudo-avant-garde.

***

Clamantis

I invented a language.  Began backwards,

with the sound.  Swedish, a metaphysics

heard in a dream.  Portuguese, inexorable seduction.

(I had to work to push aside

an incredulous Dalarna pig-farmer,

a Lisbon attorney and other

real-world gate-crashers.)

The dying fall at the end of a thought

innate in Murasaki’s Japanese;

the endless subliminal insult

prevailing, I’ve heard, in Fuegian.

Then the nouns.  No gender, but a wealth

of insinuation in her pronouns,

allusiveness in (optional) articles.

Then syntax: polysynthetic, agglutinative

to the point that every big statement

is one word, the next some Yiddish irony.

Technical terms, all loan-words, seem

to bob, almost capsize, on

this surface, which, examined, is perfectly calm.

At parties I mumble, on the street

at night I dim the lamps.

Ideograms appear in wet cement.

Should I find the right combination of meanings

I will hasten the heat-death or Last Judgment

but meanwhile am enjoying myself too much.

Revised Will

Even in dreams I don’t run.

At worst a stately progress

into horror, at best indifference.

I ran in childhood, but let’s not be maudlin.

Even in dreams I don’t hear

these long-lapsed names

on yellowed pages drafted once

in hope I must update in fear.

Fantasy compensates:

an elaborated world, a new body

to hide in. Ahead the sea,

elsewhere a forest of the hanged.

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