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.
TO S., UNDERGROUND
Conceit is not news,
vanity not news,
nor the jaunty cripples of a season,
impresarios to their famous
these thoughts keep me awake, or I
awake to keep such thoughts,
between shame and envy, saved
by neither from neither, between
nihilism and indignation,
beleaguered by both.
But there you are
with a mailing list and three forgotten volumes,
your toe in the door of forty,
faithful to failure --- childhood's eternal
province --- hard times' new hero
in a last corner of the old place,
sniffing the ancient culture of spilt milk,
living lean in a fat time,
of indefinite gestures
that wave the light away,
of smiles of stymied gentleness,
of patient carbons,
your black virgins going gray
but keeping in touch,
and puns that go nowhere punctually,
of your misery,
your autumn anthologies
shuffling the loose leaves,
your little flame,
your embarrassed tongue,
old porter fumbling bags,
all unspeakably too much to bear.
You gaze out, and nothing there
dissuades you from your privacy.
it tempers my mind to think of you,
your tiny vortex, its peaceful dwelling
like water on a drain, dauntless
and quiet, spinning, creative, stooping
to scan the humblest darkness
with diffident clarity;
you are gentle and do not weary
and persist for failure, carrying
your small debris around
and around --- the lightest things
the deluge left --- and you drop
toward its deeper issue, imagining
the earth's unenunciated
still there where your paradise drowned,
the tribe of lost aboriginals,
thick, buried deep, dumb roots
in a place of restoration.
And so you put children together,
wittily, out of whatever: scraps
you find or rummage in the street,
recollecting these neglected,
the tiniest leavings --- bits of stone,
bits of metal, glass, and wood.
And topplingly you pile up your solemn
statuary, these little emigrés
from your childhood’s orphanage.
They stand there waiting,
each two-inch child alone in space,
hundreds and hundreds, a millennium
of foundlings in a falling world,
you down there
barely breathing in Brooklyn,
buried live and flinging up
your daily bucket.
The coprophages of success
in the poses of pride, corruption, and wrath
caper on the earth.
You grope in darkness, they grovel in light.
© 2017 Irving Feldman
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