An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
I'm the burgundy-colored one,
swamp eyes, orange lips, yum yum,
in a Nolde painting – look it up.
Nice smile, by the standards of demons,
which are mine. Jerking a long
blue thumb-claw towards a milquetoast
human ascending a path while reading
beneath respectful childlike stars
I have designs on. His green skullcap –
the technical term is yarmulke.
Don't tell me Nolde didn't know this,
painting us after the first great feast
you set for me; early Party member
(and what a party!), though they dropped him –
they had standards. I don't like
the smile, big nose, or occupation.
Though really he could be anyone,
any reader. Is he aware of me?
That's always the question. Fun when they're not,
when there's only a hatred
too vast for this world, and impotent, and holy.
The latest ghost may have been hers
or her daughter's. The face was the same
though I only saw it once, at night,
fifty years ago. Hippies then were exploring
contact with bikers. The latter
elected to stay carnivore and fascist
but you still saw them in Berkeley;
drugs passed either way. She was standing,
somehow, one foot broken, gory;
apart from shock enraged, glaring down a street
where the bike that had run over her had vanished.
"Can I help?" I asked. No cellphones, remember;
broken payphones. "I ride with the Angels!" she yelled,
which I thought unresponsive. People came.
Her daughter appeared among mountains,
I don't know where. Steep and sharp.
At first a bat, drone, missile of some sort
kept circling. The winged outfit
outclassed the ragged leather I recall
but it too was bloody. "I hit an outcrop
near here and fell," she said
on landing. Landing was obviously
torment. The features had become an eagle's;
she flew, I thought, with no one. Without
a hint of pleading or of charm, she said,
"The cockamamie rules of this place
say I can't land or eat or even pee
until somebody writes my elegy."
Again I couldn't help. "God," I told her,
"is bourgeois. He is the bourgeoisie.
He's on his way out but not gone.
He extends his special blessings, which are curses,
to two groups: the inert reflective,
who may be intellectuals, and the hyperactive.
Or brave. They barely perceive each other
and never interact. When he's dead,
some ancestor will return, lazy and smelly."
Frederick Pollack is adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University and the 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, Skidrow Penthouse, Main Street Rag, Miramar, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Fish Anthology, Poetry Quarterly Review, Magma, Neon, Orbis, Big Bridge, Diagram, BlazeVox, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc.