Fred Pollack and Bill Yarrow
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Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS,is forthcoming in 2015 from Prolific Press. He has had work appear in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, etc. His online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University. He lives in Washington, DC.
The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Fred Pollack and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Thing Is
I’d love, I reply (meaning the term
in its strictest, sweatiest sense),
to accept your invite. To a patio
beneath Cinzano awnings from the Fifties,
surveying the Berkshires with half our hearts
at the latest openings and concerts.
The sun in our drinks; tolerance
effervescing beyond the norm, acceptance
of whatever age art marriage history bring –
what could be bad? But my familiars
are and make me poor company.
They aren’t the vampires and zombies
who share the affections of the masses. Rather,
outgrowths of a meme
that never quite caught on: the malign toy,
child-doll, or child. Same sing-song treble,
same creaking wink of the blood-drenched eye.
They tell me shit about myself.
They float about, or lie in heaps,
strings cut. In bed, one grows out of my back
and wails. I know that the oppressed
face worse (and we’d discuss them, wouldn’t we?);
and I could bear my demons,
if only they’d stop sending invitations.
Bill Yarrow is the author of The Lice of Christ (MadHat Press, 2014), Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku (Červená Barva Press, 2013), and Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX, 2012). His poems have appeared in Poetry International, RHINO, Contrary, DIAGRAM, Gargoyle, Uno Kudo, Confrontation, and PANK. He is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and lives in Lincolnwood, Illinois.
The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Bill Yarrow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Cranshaw on a Boat
We are floating on the Chain of Lakes
eating Rice Crispies out of a bucket.
The sun is a soft lozenge medicating
a bright red sky. Water skiers hold
onto their slackening ropes like love
itself. On Party Island, the icy drunks
have seized control. Cranshaw has
his hand inside Margaret. No one
is shocked; he was born brazen.
But when he starts in on the Jews,
Arnie gets mad and pushes him
over the side. We let him tread water,
then swing around to pick him up.
Justice? No, Margaret wants him back.
Originally appeared in the
print magazine RHINO 2012.
What the Hell Am I Doing?
My daughter is a therapist. She’s started reading my
poems. She’s noticed something curious: in each of them
the same thing happens: nothing. In one she tells me
a woman in bad car accident just stares at her hands.
In another a man travels three thousand miles looking
for a key he refuses to use. In another a bald man sits
in a plaid chair and watches a blank screen. There’s another
where a boy boards a bus and stares out the window
at darkness. A man standing on a foothill bleeds into his boots.
An atheist gets stung by a bee and watches his hand swell up.
A son returns home to a deranged parent. A college boy
watches his grandmother die. A despairing writer sees
acorns fall from a tree. A man with a blonde mustache
loiters by rusting monkey bars. An exile learns his mother
died in a suspicious fire. A tourist strolls past a hotel
famous because a suicide happened there. Some things
of course do happen she notices. Someone is slapped.
Someone takes a cruise. Someone fakes incontinence.
Someone swims in the ocean. Someone gambles at a casino.
After a beautiful dream someone wakes up crying.
These are alternative nothings she tells me. “Is that a
technical term?” I ask, wondering what the criterion is
not to be nothing. “You want me to write about something?
Is that it?” No, not necessarily. But I don’t like to see you
write about nothing. “Why? Johnson said you need something
to fill up ‘the vacuity of life.’” And you choose nothing with which
to fill life’s empty bucket? “Well maybe nothing just picked me.”
I find you curious, Dad. “That’s not something either, Sweetie.”
Originally appeared in the
print magazine Gargoyle 61.