Fall 2011

Table of Contents - Vol. VII, No. 3


Poetry    Fiction    Translations     Reviews

Robert Lietz



West of Luna Pier

For the old men dying now of AIDS

The stories condense to come along
and end in sweeps of unintended line.
Logic twisted round a thumb. And touch
when touch would seem
a metaphor for peril. Condense to kite festivals
and summer runs, to the keep
of days we had supposed were childhoods,
made up that way to turn men confidantes,
companion sufferers, shades down at noon,
unable even to sleep, raised, as if by nerve,
by daylight, like desire broadening, drawing
the muter hues from bottles of old colors:
hip or thigh, the planes and light of figure
taking form, whatever the rungs
of sentence were, to find some good in these
redraftings of the subject, some life
in the sucked faces where good features were.
And here, among the well-made
objects of a household, we feel the centuries
slip through us, entering ourselves
the sometimes shabbiness of fathers, these stories
told among the oldest visitors, sharpened
against the pedaled stones of their retelling.
1940, '41: I see the backyard launderers,
and see the fall of light on all the private garments,
listening to a wheel click off men,
to the hearts of boys who put their last coins
on a number, step away before the barker
makes the bright air loud, laddering
long light with his arresting labor.

And here, in this papered, parochial room
west of Luna Pier, I gaze or look away,
intently as required, the mahogany more bright
or now more fiercely scarred, a people
vanishing, for which there'd seemed no antidote,
leaving behind this harder furniture of heart,
whatever it was that made men seek a world so frayed,
seek their warmth in rain
as it turned heavy after all. Our growing up
takes hold of us, here, west of Luna Pier,
the sleek economies of light, and flesh mistaken
for creation, bringing the lingo on, the 2 or 3
kept strokes, grown men like brides, their pockets
turned, to show they had been honest, like
women resuming lives apart from winter fishermen.
Our growing up takes hold of us.
And love, ( and advancing asterisks, shaking
the scribbles out, and the storms endured,
like absolute conscriptions, ) that sets such figures
down in rectifying calm, comforted
in shawls and in their own well-worn voices.
And by the geese this afternoon, settling
out of storm, disgruntled travelers, crying aloud
the weight of crying through a lifetime,
building-in twilight, bearing the air below
and the defective rendezvous, where men
will step down stones, together step
across their most emphatic edges, here,
west of Luna Pier, until their steps
seem light, and their voices
rise, to seem a keyboard
lightly struck.


© Robert Lietz


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Poetry    Fiction    Translations     Reviews

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