Friday, September 1, 2017

Poetry Series, Fred W. Feldman

The Concept of Love, Given Up
Fred W. Feldman
Like when an ornament
known since early childhood,
aged and treasured monument,
falls off the mantle and breaks
into concave pieces like an orange peel,
or a picture of a globe cut out and
made to look like an orange peel,
and smaller shards sharp as crystal,
are all scooped up and thrown away,
the mass fluttering the trash bag wings
sliding into the mouth and hitting the bottom
with a thump, causing a brief burst
of plastic scent and rot,
styrofoam and molding oranges.
The initial shock of something
so hallowed turned to junk
belies the ease with which it is
soon complacently forgot.
Forgot so: slowly –
like a drip, accomplished in the
slip of a second, moment,
too instant to be catalogued.
no more point, no more reference,
no more entrance, a book at the library
about to be withdrawn, knowledge
on the verge of lost, the last tip
before the precipice, that which
Is no longer found but stumbled upon,
that rare return of a long gone
amber drop is more surprising
than that it ever was forgot.
That relican amber drop, which is,
like Pytheas said, the excretion
of the sea, or, if Nicias is to be
believed, excreta hardened by the sun,
and for scientists a coffin glass for pests,
that lingering trace of a memory that
was there and then went unfulfilled
(and no memory can ever be fulfilled).
That old cigar smell in the cushions,
the perfume and buttsweat worked into
the fabric and wound into the springs.
Everything left from those here once
who ran their race and ended their contests.
Names kept in a census sheet with cracked
yellowed pages kept in the Borough hall and,
before they were lost in the fire, seldom browsed.
A relative heard mentioned only once,
at Christmas, when your uncle was a bit drunk.
A drop from the highest roof-beam
that plinks upon and wets your forehead.
An old dream remembered for no reason
while picking up a book that fell.
The drip of nostalgia off of fingertips,
the chipped rouge on sentiment’s nails
that turns a loss into a loss. And
you used to wonder how it happened
that someone becomes unaware,
but now you know - or you don’t know –
but you see it's there, which shows it’s not,
as if you saw the disease through an inch of health.
As if you saw your waking life from within a dream;
as if the holographic trace, for a moment, flickered into view.
In such suddenness, the bauble is remembered,
Placing itself into the mind unencumbered
The old thing working itself back into mentation
And creating a melancholic collocation:
With the memory comes a hope once held
A hope from younger years, and since dispelled.
Can it be an absence if it was never there?
Can it be an absence if it was nothing but
A patch of carpet, undisturbed.
A soothing voice you never heard.
Traces of a thing; a concept lost –
Traces of a mind you never crossed.


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