Tuesday, June 10, 2014

From the Verse Essays of Ivar Benløs: Joseph Fink

I don't know about Isaac.
He seems lucky to me, but
Abe, "who grew up in the Bronx,
Had a spectacularly
Horrible childhood . . . he was
Usually on crutches,
Because of a bone disease."

Visitor Parking. Reserved
For Employees. No Parking.
Reserved H Parking Only.
Do this. Don't do that. Can't you
Read the signs? Hippies couldn't,
But they're long forgotten now.
Time doesn't wrinkle. It dies

On arrival, like the shell
Of a seed dispersed by breeze
When the breezes are the seeds.
Kitty Genovese. Who?
An urban legend needing
Further resuscitating.
We live lives seeking villains.

Here is the rapist, straight out
Of an angry LeRoi Jones
Play. Here is the neighbor, gay
And white, like the victim but
Male, drunk, and crawling away.
Here is the rising newsman,
Middle aged and middle class

And Jewish, interviewing
The Irish Chief of Police.
You're allowed to tell me this
Was so long ago, so long
Ago in America,
Cold War powerful and rich.
You're allowed to point fingers

At the snake curled in the leaves
At the top of Yggsdrasil,
A white-boy myth if ever
I were myself one of these.
Your vehicle, in which you
Breathe, has selected a place,
Visitor, Employee, H.

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