Derek Pollard
Among Such Noise
Listen you, who have forgotten the sky is blue,
who have grown as hairy
as beasts.
This is, perhaps,
the very last love in the world
to dawn like a consumptive’s flush.
—Vladimir Mayakovsky, “The Backbone Flute”

Friday night, the vox populi going
All Loverboy, your leg brushing against
Mine, Navesink crowding into a booth
At the Emerald Inn, cracked upholstery
Krylon green, same as the Randall’s Island
Pitch that first saw Pelé arrived to the
United States

Even here, the gyre’s enginery, even
Here, that first nudge, apprenticed perfectly


Art thou a silk–worm? Dost thou
Spin thy own shroud out of thyself?


A dandy’s wedding
Sleeping three to
A bed after
Sake Bar Hagi
The Gates what
Song, what giddy
February, “More Stars
Than There Are
In Heaven” come
Anthem, come e’ver

I am, like, so going to, you know, like

The joy of that like the wash of subway
Sounds wavering above winter, Les Halles just
Before, and then just after, Nights and Week
Ends a place of origin, of cascade

The lock into which the key fits is shaped
Like a person in profile leaning o’er
The pages of a book

One quick smile &
Then three whacks to the child’s ass

As the dropped ice cream running rose–pink across
The cobbled sidewalk above

Why are we
Frightened by accident? By sudden joy?

The child quickened to tears, footsteps tunneling
The earth all too close & dizzying

Leaving unthought, upon us already

It is easy

Our protestations &
Our tears

Taste of strawberry, stinging skin


& gone

Rose rivering the cobbles
Bounding each footstep as we step o’er what
Joy, ours and his—that child’s—at the swift spread

Of color speeding him from his discarded
Place on line

Easy? Of course it is

The lock, glide the step, turn e’ery attention
Upward to the sounding and to the spill
Beneath one’s feet

Unexpectedly see

Give us a line from Dryden then

One two

Three four

Five six seven eight

Schlemiel schlimazel


Or did you mean Ken Dryden, because Kenny
Was a brick wall in net, and a stand–up guy off
The ice, could stop a puck with his teeth, and often
Did, and then would stand a round of drinks for
The same guys who were trying to take his head
Off, Bowman behind the bench, St. Louis merely
Another of Montreal’s iced–over bridges, a wild
And unexpected breakthrough that came at
The world from an unlikely direction, Concordia Salus
Threaded equally through Songs from a Room
And each room revolving, the hallway the hallway
Of the Hotel Chelsea, ours the typewriter’s decade
The decade of song, until every stave is emptied and
La barre grande is a barchan the breath has let slip

Woodwind, tympani, the full orchestra’s
Sway, the boy in the cloud glad to be both Robin

Masters and Higgins, tyger and dandelion
Rose and crucifixion


Art thou a silk–worm?


At McSorley’s it’s always Dark or light?
Light or dark?
Summer, fall, winter, spring the
Bar heavy as a bison, and as worn
The century–old thrill a banana clip
Kicked along the avenues in Alphabet
City to the tune of The River Kwai
Alec Guinness de Cuff reading The
Waste Land,
the magnetic tape pulled taut a
Cross the Jersey Shore, Highlands to Howell
Howell to Highlands

When we come to one another, love, we
Are the linen voices of cloud, the lit
Tle boy and the little girl lost
And found
We are the vision of the vision of
Paradise Palms, the toreador for
Getting his sword, the absurd tearfulness
Of the I–don’t–want–to–talk–about–it
Response as the credits roll or the play
Goers stand, some calm and contented, some
With the violence of Sappho come to
The cliff’s edge, and help one another in
To their coats before letting go the the
Atre’s thrall

We are Steichen and Wife Clara on Their
Honeymoon, Lake George, New York
and the too
Fast winter hour at the Met we stood be
Fore the glass of it, startled utterly

We are absinthe’s greeny gate and the tar
Paper roof beneath the thunderstorm, that
Mischievous joy that overtakes Herbie
Flowers strolling through the double bass part
On “Walk on the Wild Side,” the icicled
Fluff at the center of a creamsicle
We are an idiot wind blowing from
The Grand Coulee Dam to the Mardi Gras

The cruelest, ugliest thing you could e’er
Think to say

We are none of these things alone

Spilling into Columbus Circle and then on
Into the park, spring’s panegyric outdoes

Even the queerest of Benetton ads, while
Tehran’s daughters gift the new year with

Perfect pitch, its sons with golden tongues
Abū al–Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh

Ibn ʿAbd al–Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim at the
Hammersmith Palais 1919, Morrissey

At Foxwoods Resort 28 March 2009
Garcia Lorca’s duendes at the fire grate

Playing with the cataleptic smoke bedding
Down all around the Steamboat Inn

You know, like, totally that thing he just said, but, like, more of it

According to Renato
Poggioli, this union
Of artistic and
Political radicals lasted
Until the 1880s
When “what might
Be called the
Divorce of the
Two avant–gardes” took
Place, Urthona, whose
Law is the
Plinth of singularity
The Lion and
Ox as one
Exuberance, exuberance is
Beauty, the sun
A green jujube
Lying atop the
Viscid mosaic of
The movie theater’s
Floor, The Sun
Perhaps the greatest
Achievement of modern
Mural painting, symmetrically
Structured, it occupied
The enormous front
Space of Oslo
University’s assembly hall
Dominating through size
Unmitigated frontality, and
Power of imagery

Yet, the sun is the sun, the residence of image
As studium, partition, castigation; so, syllables

Take letters and transform them into unified sounds
That organize themselves into words

Camera Lucida in the year of the miracle

Jim Craig as Gabriel

Warwick Davis as Willow

Christ played by all six of The Three Stooges

Donald, the exclamation point is you
In a wetsuit in Les Vacances de m
the record player’s hurricane
The hurricane of voice that machine–washes
Our epoch’s overly long Oscar speech

You know, like, when that one guy, like, the one from that movie, said that thing he said, and it was, like, way too long, or like when football players always thank God whenever, like, anything happens that’s good

Because when you
Wonder where I
Have gotten to
You know to
Go down to
The tennis court
Where I too
Am lingering hopefully
The ocean’s slow
Song the song
Of mourning which
Follows us from
Eden Rock to
St Jean, which
Crumples the waxed
Paper after we
Have finished the
Croque–Monsieur and
Lifts it into
The channels of
Air in which
Each bird is
Only e’er reveling

For I have seen the he–bird also,
I have paused to hear him near at hand inflating his throat and joyfully singing

In the wee small hours of the morning
When the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake, and think about the girl
And never, ever think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You’d be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That’s the time you miss her most

And while I paus’d it came to me that what he really sang for was not there only,
Nor for his mate nor himself only, nor all sent back by the echoes,
But subtle, clandestine, away beyond

When the sun is high in the afternoon sky
You can always find something to do
But from dusk ‘til dawn, as the clock ticks on
Something happens to you

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You’d be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That’s the time you miss her most of all

Outside the window where Larry Eigner
Looks out onto Swampscott the flowers are
Flaming, the buds producting
We are ar
Rived to spring, not again, for we have ne’er
Left, and to return is something we can
Never do

McSorley’s is packed
Full, gladly we’re not

E’en able to hear
Ourselves think among

Such noise, among such
Wondrous contumely

War is Over (If
You Want It)
& we

Do, and so it is
In our hearts at least

And in others’ hearts
Too, despite e’ery act

And e’ery instance that
Shews the contrary

Eating bacon after weeping over
Babe, hesitating for e’en the slightest
Beat over the voice of G. Gordon Liddy
Selling anything, buying anything
Or processing anything as a career
Wanting to sell anything bought or processed
Or buying anything sold or processed, or
Processing anything sold, bought, or processed
Or repairing anything sold, bought or
Processed, you know, as a career

It is
Time we stop remembering John Wayne from
The Shootist, Hondo, The Green Berets, and
Picture instead the final scene from The
Quiet Man,
Duke and Maureen O’Hara
The sum of Cage’s equation LOVE =
Gerald dancing with the Shan Van Vocht at

The gates of Faery, Mary Lavin’s “Happiness”
The happiness of liberation

This we must jigger the same uncanny
Arithmetic behind the synchronized
Waterskiing in the Go Go’s video
For “Vacation,” where the bicycle is
The start of her and all a gramophone
Wants is to be properly played; its thrue
Wonder only felt when everythin’s quiet
When we know what a gramophone wants is
The silence of the dead

Don’t hatchet the chicken yet
We need it for our Tuesday

Alectryomancy, scatter the grain
Just so, here, and here, tear

The corner of the sack like this
And then bend the corner back

Yes, just like that, now, slowly
Across the yard, leave the hens

For the cock, the chicks will follow
Close upon, those little pecks, each

One from Songs of the Earth, each
One an unfailing prophecy

Thou hearest the Nightingale begin the Song of Spring
The Lark sitting upon his earthy bed: just as the morn
Appears; listens silent; then springing from the waving Corn–field! Loud
He leads the Choir of Day! trill, trill, trill, trill
Mounting upon the wings of light into the Great Expanse
Reechoing against the lovely blue & shining heavenly Shell
His little throat labours with inspiration; every feather
On throat & breast & wings vibrates with the effluence Divine
All Nature listens silent to him & the awful Sun
Stands still upon the Mountain looking on this little Bird
With eyes of soft humility, & wonder love & awe

Edith and Archie at the piano, The Jeffersons still years away


Dost thou
Spin thy own shroud out of thyself?


Man has wooed
The world and
Won the world

And has fallen
Weary, and not
I think, for
A time, but

With a weariness
That will not
End until the
Last autumn, when

The stars shall
Be blown away
Like withered leaves

The background against which
We read © MCMLXXIII already

Hurried to an unsteady black
The video cassette a–jangle

Last of the laugh track giving
Way to the laughter of children

Fissured wall at the Garden’s

Arcady’s revenant