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Winter 2019/20

Frederick Pollack


Infinite yet infinitesimally
small, its people so tiny
they escape our distinctions,
preeminently the one involving
death. If they imagine us
at all, they assume we’re as guileless and
plain-spoken as themselves –
more so: they think they’re great sophisticates.
If they could see us
a moment, whatever that
might mean, they’d be
depressed, although one can’t say terminally.

Things return. When I do, I’ll
be as undiplomatic
as other people thought I was. The principle,
which meanwhile has prevailed
everywhere, of leadership and charm
as irresistible gangsterdom,
shall triumph also in the cultural realm.
No more shall I envy
obscurity and subtlety – the hippo will overcome
its hopeless and demeaning
love of the hummingbird. And at night,
from the lawn, I’ll gaze
at stars like neon spheres and oblongs –
a Type IV civilization
(on the Sagan-Kardashev scale) sponsoring heaven.

Frederick Pollack is author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure (Story Line Press, 1986) and Happiness (Story Line Press, 1998), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, 2018). His work has appeared in Hudson Review, Southern Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Manhattan Review, Main Street Rag,  Chicago Quarterly Review, The Fish Anthology), Poetry Quarterly, Orbis, and online, in Big Bridge, Diagram, BlazeVox, and Triggerfish.


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