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Parents of the Just Man

Ionarts is happy to sprinkle original artwork or a good photograph (courtesy of Mark) into the midst of concert reviews, and we are equally happy to give space to an original poem kindly contributed by Frederick Pollack, author of The Adventure and Happiness, both book-length narrative poems, and whose shorter works have appeared in literary magazines such as the Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Orbis UK, and the Munich-based Die Gazette.

Parents of the Just Man

No god or wingèd trash
presides over their first official date;
only the liberal mind.
She used to be a waitress,
sees the flaws in the place,
knows why he thought it was good
and what he’ll pay if she lets him.
Meanwhile he’s going on
(has arrived at this point
alarmingly soon) about his ex,
his faults, their immaturities …
Wants terribly to stop,
but sees, three sentences ahead,
the possibility of a definitive
confession, and for a moment
cares more for it than her.
By his infixed eye and lowered brow
she recognizes as much
and is rather touched;
throws in his way a hint
he may or may not notice
of her own encapsulated,
well-formulated pain.
He passes the test. But then,
over coffee and half a dessert,
they find themselves ashamed –
what grows from youth
are obsessively cultivated
carnivorous plants. And so they
avoid, that night,
their deepest personal
or even deeper
professional concerns
(she always one transparent door
away from power –
it will not open, thus inviting her
to love it, a temptation she combats;
as he will notice with professional phlegm
from a cold lifelong orbit far from power).
Instead they talk politics.
He actually knows something.
She actually knows something
about the reigning idiots.
“You had me from the word ‘despair’,”
she says on anniversary dinners there.

by Frederick Pollack


Anonymous said...

“You had me from the word ‘despair’...”

It's beautiful! I really like it. I like it even better than "You had me at "hello" "

jfl said...

There will be more to come, Margarita, if we are lucky.