GATE OF HORN
My best ideas come from the edge of sleep, where financial projections are doubted, the medical question tabled, the report on means and ends returned for editing; where a corrupt yet timid republic yields with a sigh to a king, who is swiftly deposed by a shadowy, place-holder god, who turns over power to a khan, maddest of rulers, deeply wishing the good of all yet given to laughter and debauchery in his distant, isolated, soundproof palace … It’s he, who fears nothing, who encourages promulgation of world-overthrowing, anarcho-critical ideas that are entirely suppressed or, if not, sent back for peer review though peerless, subjected to focus groups that never quite focus, are burnt by reactionary forces and gather dust for decades in the files of the standing committee.
Our host wasn’t what I’d expected – all ego-twitch and flashing LEDs – but a perfect imitation of grace. We sat equidistant from the wing with hip-hop for his younger guests and the one where a string quartet exhausted itself, hearing neither. He talked about art – it was all on his walls – and wine – he owned the patent. Eventually the other cologned and perfumed elites bowed off to their suites. Still wakeful, I said that with his permission I would take a stroll. – Calm night, waning moon. He had cornered the market on spring. Among the trees and their tactful lanterns, paired youngsters fresh from the dance and some elders in search of exertion lay on unobtrusive chaises or grass. There was no need, I thought, for statuary, had it been in style – not with these classical, unsurpassable forms, half-lit, half-shadowed, some partly draped, sighing like wind. I wondered if there were any other animals in the forest – even a mosquito – and made my way to the gazebo half-visible beside a pond or sea. There, my back to the revelers, I sat on a fretwork chair. On the table stood a thermos. A note seemed addressed to me, though it only told whoever sought rest here that this tea had been placed late enough it should still be hot. It was also, said the note, delicious – the rarest blend from our host’s plantations – and went on in this way so fulsomely that, thirsty and chilled, I passed the offer by.
Author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure (Story Line Press, 1986; to be reissued by Red Hen Press) and Happiness (Story Line Press, 1998), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). In print, Pollack’s work has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Manhattan Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Main Street Rag, Miramar, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Poetry Quarterly Review, Magma (UK), Neon (UK), Orbis (UK), Armarolla, December, and elsewhere. Online, his poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Diagram, BlazeVox, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Big Pond Rumours (Canada), Misfit, OffCourse and elsewhere. firstname.lastname@example.org