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Poetry Supplement Summer 1999, Volume 17.0



Susan Sondephoto of Susan Sonde.

Susan Sonde is the winner "The Capricorn Book Award" for her poetry collection
In The Longboats With Others, (New Rivers Press).



Like a tail hooked to the boom
box, a snake with a pitchfork around its neck,
dancing to the fast action, stopgap timing; the epicenter,
the banter rendered smooth as hog fat.
The trek across musical pipeline—the big thaw,
the Arctic chill
of music blown through a comb.
The block of wood rubbed across the record the wrong way.

How empty the silence feels when it is delivered finally
to that terrain of special effects, not to mention
honing in on the painting—the cover on the album:

                                "Who Am I?"

the beneficiary in this
technologically most dazzling of times
which had promised so much
in the carrying out of it.

Here was music nevertheless, and it had something for everyone.

The quarter beats rising into the air

                                the blip-blip

on the invisible screen, the neon colors,
heartbeats converging on each other.


The Passengers Take Their Seats and Look Forward to the Ride

Because the trip was no less important than the getting there.
Because the building-up was marred by the tearing-down.
Each in its own way calls for commitment.
In an age of passivity who will take responsibility
for the meaning of the text: the songs and rhythms of the times,
the hope, that maybe the solution will find its way back to us?

Time strings us along, takes it out on us, who are
already taking it out on ourselves.
Fear is part of the struggle, the inability to pull back
from the politics of meaning in order to smash through meaning
and discover what lies on the other side. There it is,
you say, sitting on the outskirts, like stars and gasses.

The idea is not to try to make sense, but let sense saunter in
through the doors and windows of the writing down.
Because you want to get with the program
while the lankiness of the times wants to leave you
behind, scratching your image off the cold floorboards
an amalgam once, like heated metal.

The mind is a tired animal, it sulks in the dark
getting mileage out of the words;
hoping against hope they will not betray it.



On the start-up of the day after we thought about i…
"oh, truly we have given of ourselves,
wrung out every particle like the neutrino theory;
said the right things in the right order
though it all came back a kind of dud or failed spark."
We faced the truth and the lies went up
like dry ice...smoke on a camping trip to the Dakotas,
where clouds get lost at the same time they are found
to be the sole proprietors of the puzzle "who am I?"

It's right here the answer—beside us in front of us,
and what a pity no one else recognizes that falling down
among the forests and streams of the adventure,
a marriage which has been incompatible for a long time.

It's a strain always to believe in something
that was about to be liquidated anyway.
At the very least You could have pretended, couldn't You?
to smile under Your large cocked hat, Your gray fedora?


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