Page 38 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
P. 38

Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020

                [SECOND VOICE, speaking simultaneously with FIRST VOICE]:

                —It might have been docks, it might have been blocks
                It might have been—surely—the school of hard knocks
                She might have detested all grandfather clocks
                Or declared that she never could bear to wear frocks
                But crossing her leotards (she didn’t wear socks)
                And squinting her eyes till she looked like a fox
                (Ignoring my comment on bagels and lox)
                She whispered obliquely, The subject is rocks.

                We sat in the coffee house breathing the air
                To the casual observer we hadn’t a care
                (It was Cambridge in Spring if you’ve ever been there)

                When fixing upon me her vacuous stare
                And assuming an attitude “born of despair”
                She rather ungracefully fell from her chair
                (The clamor they tell me resounded for blocks!)
                And whispered obliquely, The subject is rocks.

                And now that I’m older and very well read
                It often occurs when I’m going to bed
                That I wonder what could she have meant when she said
                In a voice that might easily waken the dead
                In a tone that was hollow and heavy as lead
                With a tremor that filled me with Infinite Dread
                (There were so many things she might speak of instead!)
                But she grasped at a bundle of freshly picked phlox

                And whispered obliquely, The subject is rocks.

                East Oakland’s Eastmont Mall. Eleven p.m., papers strewn everywhere. As I drive
                by the liquor store in my car I notice two men who seem to be confronting each
                other. One of them stands in front of the open liquor store. In his hands he holds
                an enormous rifle. The other is seated on a motorcycle. He is driving the
                motorcycle (as violently as he can) in small circles before the man with the rifle.
                Everything seems violent, open, uncertain. I pass by—

                [The two voices end at exactly the same time. There is a moment
                of silence before the concluding lines are spoken.]

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