After a career divided between working in the arts and working for newspapers, I have arrived at a point where I can spend more time on my own creative work. While I’ve always written and published poetry, I’ve certainly never been as prolific before, and it has never been my primary pursuit before. These days, I live part of the year in Woodstock, New York, and part of the year in a magical pueblo in Mexico.
And when all was done then said,
it wasn't his flaws that caused
him to disappear.
Often enough he had willed that to be so,
wishing to become as insubstantial as
the bundled absence of all he lacked.
But as things turned out
it was a random strand of virtue
that rendered him invisible.
Ones who should have known better
tugged and teased that thread into prominence,
then magnified it beyond all meaning.
Old friends spoke of strength and courage.
New friends suspected him of gentle grace.
He insisted he stood falsely accused,
Offering his alibi to a myopic mirror
that, upon reflection, denied
any impression of him at all.
“Transparency” was originally published in Cyclamens & Swords
Editor's Note: I asked Ken about the origin of this poem, and he wrote this: "It was written some time after the death of my wife of 30 years. One of the things I experienced then was that both the dead and those left behind become in some ways one-dimensional to many perfectly well-meaning people who (like most of us) don’t know quite how to address loss and grief. All dead people were saints, all caregivers were heroic, and none were/are the flawed, messy reality that all people actually are."
©2015 Kenneth Salzmann