Fred Pollack: a poem



Down the Hall


On a lighter planet I'd be light on my feet

or whatever those are; here,

the muscles make no sense except as meat

of an unwieldy species that should, no doubt,

be protected, but otherwise kept far

from you. The claws and fangs, unnerving

in themselves, seem scarcely adequate

to the form; and although I approach

only slowly you flee. Unless you hear

my voice. Which squeaks when it tries

to sound firm; is mostly a murmur, as if,

though the beast weeps blood, its blood

is tears. Then you just want to avoid me.


That's half the time. The rest of the week,

though the schedule isn't strict, you see

a stain in the hall, and think There goes

the roof again, or Someone brought

their scooter or their bike inside

to oil it; and watch disgustedly

the ooze invest the carpet. You should move.

You can't. Meanwhile the voice

booms magisterially, provides

unfathomable information, rattles

the walls of the flat, which rattle anyway

in any wind, and is easy to shut out

compared to music from the other floors.



Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press. His other collections include A Poverty of Words (2015) from Prolific Press and Landscape With Mutant (2018) from Smokestack Books (UK). His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Orbis (UK), Neon (UK), Bateau, Main Street Rag, Manhattan Review and Prick of the Spindle.