I retired from the SUNY Buffalo English Department in 2004. Have published a dozen or so collections of poems. Such my addiction to the sport of squash racquets my headstone is to read: "ONE MORE GAME?" See more of my poems HERE.
Desiring Power Where Surrender Failed
How can sharing bread not be true companionship?
When a shit-eater has you dine from his dish.
More awful than the banquet of excrements
was his toastmasterly regurgitation
praising your compelled "collegiality";
then the brown buss of his lips on your cheek;
then 'round your neck and hung at heart level to hide
the shame and vomit: the cold weight of his medal.
His one principle is this: he will accept
no wage or fee until he's begged for it.
So you see him shove forward, cup in claw,
and genuflect to the dribbling cloaca
--always the proud first in line for seconds.
4. "He Knows the System and How It Works"
First, subsumption upward of the small fry
defying gravity in the next greater's gut;
then--presidential, chairmanly, veepish,
at every stage more pure, more unnourishing--
the voiding downward and processing of shit.
This is how it works, he knows, snacking below,
repossessing himself as this fungible stuff,
while his gloat says, "Who dines on me dines on dreck."
5. Desiring Power Where Surrender Failed
Shit Happens! the bumper sticker fleeing the scene
hurls back, thumbing its rear at the victim.
Where his mouth used to be, tire tread grimaces
the collusive smirk of his admit-it-Jack-
you-like-it-too, and a taste for collision.
Resurrected as the vehicle, brutal,
but weak, he's driven to revisit that instant:
its slow approach, then sudden wreckage,
when Power ran his innocence down
and had some buttered roadkill for lunch.
So he thinks to pass you through him
and serve you to yourself from his dish
--and observe you observing your principles
become secondary, lax, late, corrupt;
then self-surrender turns self-loathing,
and self-loathing a greed for more spoiled self;
then you fleeing your corpse in the road, grinning.
6. Happens Not!
No, you decline the company of Power: stooge,
suck-up, cynic, panegyrist, footstool, wrecker
--who, caught in some eternal happening of shit
in hell, struggle, and can't engorge, can't expel
the truth that punishes their enfeebled craws.
You give yourself, give more--do your uttermost.
Go, little poem, go far away from here!
--before he comes to covet your rebuke,
and butts you down and rolls around in you
and smears you over himself and gulps you in.
Run, little poem, run, run away from here!
Honors! Prizes! Awards! Etc!
Eternal outsider always wanting in
rattles the latch, enters the cell, rummages
for, reaches after, some unimaginable
innermost...lets the body drop...reaches into
your body, into mine...trying to know
what it cannot understand: ungraspable life!
Or we build a body here of many bodies,
a club, a corporation, a membership
of Immortals in a Muses' Institute,
closing ranks against, precisely, that one,
who (though widely acknowledged mighty and dreadful,
and present as the night--self-nominated--
between the lines of every short list
for all the prizes and honors under the sun)
is turned away repeatedly at the door
as inadmissible, as having this bad rep
for hopping into the sack with anyone
--muddy old parvenu dragging people down to
his level, into his unspeakable hovel...
And we make a party--a gala's galaxy
rubs the elbows it bends to toast itself,
and crowds together to a massive muchness:
no chink, no aperture, no slightest silence
where to enter, where to hunker in and hide
--only our animated, general hubbub,
and over us a more-than-mortal outcry from
the laurel branches of our green academy.
But who can hope to be more famous than death?
che fè Nettuno ammirar l'ombra d'Argo.
He swam, but swam in place, the place was his,
the whole of it, all the sea, and he its self
and sway, storming or still --- and never still,
ecstatic platitude of the sea dazzle
and reaches, the dark reverie downward,
dreaming itself toward a fluent point
dispersed in a thousand silvery centers,
bubbles lofting and kissing themselves
into nothingness, the spray lifted and blown,
expatiating in broken syllables
--- and he held close by the dream of the sea,
a wonder of water where he moved and touched
the light, saw the transparency, always
light moving, the clear ecstasy.
And splashed but couldn't speak, having no words
in the imageless sea. Then startled, started.
The little blindness of the marvelous
Argo's opacity pierced Neptune's brow,
and wavered into sound --- the image sang,
and sang inside his coursing bones the in-
conceivable commonplaces, Sky, fire, star,
and offered him to all the openness.
©2016 Irving Feldman
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