The Sanity (1967-1997)

By on Apr 13, 2010 in Poetry

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     But     what     should     a morning mean
or     winning    seasons

     in    their     pockets?  Or     that     ball
in     the     seared ditch –

     that     ball     in the hand     — when hands
agreed     to the expenses     — to     

     the moods     — as     months     were     let
condition them     — fitted     

     with summit promises?  Faces     the wind
retrieves     — adverbial

     and     young     — remember     themselves
as shoulder-work     / themselves     

     as     customers     — satisfied     to look —
with     less     on their minds

     than cheating traps and massacres.  Faces     
the wind retrieves     — saved

     by     their grips     on     composite stocks    
or foxed-wrapped wheels     — drive

     on     a few hours     sleep     — hammering     
the spiced joe back     — until     

     their minds set up for them     — and     all     
that the business meant     — the ways     

     the catalogs     described it     — the flattened
sea-stones meant     — pointing

     away or toward some hard-done balancing —
adding     to     nothing     / less –

     if only this rearview     headbeams     gain
and climb behind     — these same

     foul strips     and     arresting laminates.  
It’s     thirty years     ( let’s say )     

     cursing the cash-drawers     / castanets —
the     ( imitation )     meat        — and     

     the high-volume autographs.


     And     after     thirty years     — in     all
of the newly made
and     newly     dissolving images —
the visible
trembles its full length     — stirring     in him     
this alien     / apocalyptic
audience     — raised    on     the news
as is     — the views-letters
nobody     thought     to verify
/ the iconoclast cliches     
and     inclinations

     This holiday’s     the most     he’ll have of it —
and     the heart     at stake —
this     singular     and     floating leaf —
seductive     / fluttering —
leaving     a man     like this     — a librettist
wintering     — but     not
what     he’d     had     in mind
/ not     what    he’d     
dreamed he’d

     of genuis     and the price lists     — of
the nights     — clairvoyant     
/ critical     — the     small potatoes
bobbing     — in
their fevered pot of brine     — leaving
the heart
at stake     — and the names
let slip
/ in     symbolic


     He thinks how the parlors zoomed.  And thinks
How     the buildings     once     — as     

     old     and     blizzard-scored     as buildings were —
seemed homes    to     all of them –

     the parlors     where voices once     were heard to run     
with company     — sub-dividing Time –

     and     adding     to nothing     / less     — when words     
adventured into cedars.  The visible     

     trembles     its full length     — and the whole length    
( mis-firing )     levels the stories on themselves –

     and     on     the story-tellers     — replicating holidays —
the holiday floats     laid out     

     as the floats were     on     the blue waters     — lost     
as     the moonlight     steps     — as     

     wrong     as     the cedars     were     / as adventures
seemed to be     — and     costly

     as     human     rivalries     / as     solo     guitars
on hills     / in     shell-tempered

     pavilions     — ferrying     clouds     where     
druids     winked     — but

     late     — but    way     too late
          for videos.  

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Robert Lietz is the author of eight published collections of poems, including The Lindbergh Hal-century, Storm Service, and After Business in the West. Nearly five hundred of his poems have been published in print and online journals, including recent publications in Istanbul Literary Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, Avatar, Contrary, Terrain, Valparaiso Review, Salt River Review, and Lily. Several unpublished collections are currently finished and ready for publication, including West of Luna Pier, Spooking in the Ruins, Keeping Touch, Character in the Works: Twentieth Century Lives, The Vanishing, and Eating Asiago & Drinking Beer. Meanwhile, he keeps active writing and exploring his interest in digital photography and image processing and their relationship to the development of his poetry.