Poetry, Prose and Art Journal
Multilingual, Multicultural, Interdisciplinary Web Edition

Edited and published by Steven Duplij

I. B. Rad

As a scientist

As a scientist
I imagined it sublime
to play the poet;
now that I'm a poet
I suppose it's fine
to be a scientist.

Hero's dilemma

Had it been in the cards,
the lean, quick death
of a hero
would have suited him better,
not the slow,
agonizing consumption
of the prisoner.
So he
who thought himself the star
of his own implausible drama
found out he was only
just another two-bit player
absurdly capering
to his audience's direction.

The new ice age

Love has its hour and place
but that hour is not now;
now, twilight is too glacial,
these street people,
too hungry.
Love has its hour and place
but that place is not here.
Here there are no sensual appetites.
Here the shell-shocked survivors
have been fucked enough
to last a lifetime.

On meeting at a poetry reading

Like two hackneyed trains,
passing in the gloom
you woo wooed your poetry
while mine, in turn, came clattering out;
until, at last, plummeting down parallel tracks,
our flashing pains
receded into night.

Edward Hopper's "Railroad Crossing"

"An American tone poem,"
"rooted in the earth,"
"a still life,"
all apply
to Edward Hopper's landscape,
"Railroad Crossing;"
where solitary farmhouse
and telephone poles
sprout from the earth,
no less majestic
than an oak;
where train track
and road
lie no more "unnatural,"
no more alien,
than an early morning sunrise
or a breeze
swaying in the trees.

On leaving California

When I was a small boy
I kept pet turtles in a fish bowl
with only room enough
to swim in circles.
And even now, after forty years,
I still remember when
I freed them in a local pond
and they kept circling
until, eventually,
as their spirals widened,
they sensed life's possibilities
and dipped off into the unknown.

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© 1996 by Steven Duplij