For James Arthur & Hailey Leithauser
It just isn’t right: composing in his head while
hiking, publishing in Poetry, The New Yorker
at his tender age, reciting his Gorilla Mask poem
with a beatific smile:
“Fuck you. . . with a waterfront view.”
And the view from the upstairs art gallery
where the featured poets read their works:
rank on rank of rowhouses rolling down
to the Baltimore harbor,
to Camden Yards, the Bromo Tower,
O, the Baltimore “O!” the cramped garret
where Poe wrote, but no more, no more.
I can only hurry to try to catch up,
older poet stumbling over the carefully typed words
of my World War I “Bosc Pear” poem
—but he nods to me kindly
when he references that
carnage in his “Back in the Day” poem,
young poet with serene smile, his poet mask on,
alluding to thoughts of suicide, hooves in the Rubicon.
To Seyma Ozkan
At the explosion, she rushed
to survey the havoc, craned
from the balcony despite
her father’s warning;
the next blast shot
shrapnel through her heart.
A balcony should be for
dreaming of sunsets,
fountains, and gardens,
and a young man who brings
a gift of fragrant fruit
in the morning sun.
The Great Writer’s Relics
The great writer’s relics sit in glass cases
down the hall from the Egyptian and Roman exhibits
as if he is some type of continuum.
Here is his favorite pen.
Here is his silver-topped cane.
Here a handwritten page from his most famous novel,
with only two deletions.
Here even is his whole study, desk, bookshelves, and all,
re-created behind a glass panel,
for the kids to paw or ignore
on the road from Pac-Man and Spider Man
on their way to sex and families
and success or non-success
and there are copies of letters from the novelists
who thought he was a great poet,
and from the poets who thought him a great novelist.
And nowhere is there evidence of his pain
at being unable to find the right words,
the fear that he’ll never be good again,
that he was never any good—the fear
of popping into oblivion
and leaving only relics.
To “Lalo” Delgado (1931–2004)
as treasures for
The poet who cried out,
with a big knife. . .
he doesn’t want to knife you
he wants to sit on a bench
and carve christfigures.”
© Christopher T. George
Christopher T. George was born in Liverpool, England, in 1948 and first came to the United States in 1955. He studied poetry with Sister Maura Eichner and Elliott Coleman. His poetry has been published in journals worldwide, including Poet Lore, the American Poetry Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Beyond Words, and Madness Muse Press. Chris is a former editor at Loch Raven Review. He has a poetry site at http://chrisgeorge.netpublish.net/.