Monday, October 17, 2011

Two Poems by Leonard Kress

Twenty-Something Sonata

Bad summer, the worst, for no good reason, The Summer
of My Werther I dubbed it then, lacking irony,
summer of Watergate, and the job at the Gypsy
School falling through—teaching for free, paying myself
from student loans. Summer I decided not to go
crazy, not become a drunk, it was simple—assent
or refuse—accept or deny, flopped on the sofa,
Daniel Barenboim, and a certain twenty-something
Mozart Sonata injecting final notes into
the suicide movement, diamond needle in the arm
tracks, lifting, cutting off the final devastating
notes, over and over. I think I would have been both
if it had make it just once, all the way to silence.

after Gerald Stern

Quantum Tale

A man, call him Ali, is out riding when he spies
a group of men on horseback. Ali, fearing this could be
a band of robbers, gallops off as fast as his horse
can go. The would-be robbers turn out to be his friends.
“I wonder where Ali’s going in such a hurry?”
One says, “Let’s follow him and maybe we will find out.”
Ali, feeling himself pursued, heads to a graveyard
and leaps over the wall, dismounts and then hides himself
behind a tombstone. (Physicists might call this a case
of conjugate pairs.) His friends arrive, and then call
out to him, “Why are you hiding from us, Ali?” Who
responds, “It’s much more complicated than you realize,”
“I’m here because of you and you’re here because of me.”

These poems are from a manuscript, 13(13 X 13)13, which consists of 169 poems, each one 13 lines of 13 syllables. Leonard Kress has two new poetry collections: Braids & Other Sestinas (Seven Kitchens Press) and Living in the Candy Store (Finishing Line Press). He lives in Ohio.

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