Sunday, June 1, 2014

Frank C. Praeger- Three Poems

Somewhere Near End

Shall I begin?
Shoulder strap high,
no third person neophyte -
I am.

Feet braced against a wall,
back bent,
toes untouchable -
my own spell, quick steps and a little swagger;
silence filling in wherever I have been.
Indeterminately numbered things,
arm chair, lamp, dust ball,....

Have I sorted out nice from not so nice,
separated last from first, ignored black and blue bruises,
blood spots, or told a story?
A raven outside, mouse in the cupboard,
wolf spider on the ceiling - enough -
unable to dissemble,
innocent of sin.
A stranger's grimace says 'do not make trouble.'
Neglect - a surreptitious kind of end.

Have I begun
labelling each thing,
seen thingamajigs attenuate?
But see how they disengage.
See, someone cheats
and ends up in a dirty clothes hamper.

How will I be introduced,
holding hands with another? 

Snow crowds my movement, slicks of ice, protracted fall,
a broken wrist,....
Catcalls as I go on reciting.


Is that it?
Without bouquet?
Without commendation?

and decibels of ridicule;
left with what else to call it but a fitful little tune.

Obscure imaginary flagellants;
a residue?
a diffidence imbued.
To have been forfeited, or, if not, 
fortune's divestment.
Gravel underfoot,
unidentified birds overhead,
tangential to my own strangeness.

Last remains potent,
as I conjure up figments,
trace ignoble lineaments
of yesteryears' disasters.
A frog croaks
and crows respond.  
Still, I am not set free,
not settled,
not unambiquous.
Rain water collects -
And what else -
something other, but not less.

Unsweetened Alterations

Two nights, three days,
sunrises, sunsets, other surmises,
water for shade,
snakes swarming in the undergrowth
shocked into submission,
named postulates signifying,
more or less, turpentine or green.
A tacky need, one resolute shake of the head,
denial stayed, you posture over breakfast,
on passing the milk, on neighbors.
You are beggar, thief, a whimsical other
to a last reprieve.
You and I, unsweetened alterations, ticked off,
address the latest thingamijig,
assured, bold, but not uncompromising.
Opaque as a stranger's look,   
no storied finish, nothing far out,
mussel shells abandoned, no trawling
on the outer shelf but an evening
promenading on the edges of a pond,
listening among last season's tattered cattails,
in the silence of our own anticipation, to frogs,
to our own breathing.


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