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Famous Reporter # 32

 

March 2006
 

JAMES FINNEGAN

                                     two poems


                Borzoi

The swift one, that sleek and powerful   dog,
the hunter of the steppe  wolf.
You can still see them on Fifth   Avenue
and along Park, tethered to  women,
whose own elegant frames are   glancing
in store windows, as they race
a haute couture blur of  mannequins.
Sometimes, through a cast-iron   fence
or a row of boulevard trees, these   dogs glimpse
an expanse of grass, and the   muscles ripple
inside their flanks, a thwarted  and ingrown
orgasm  Poised as they are, forever posed,
about to spring forward, if  only to run down
the shadow of a crow passing  over the ground.

 

         Sold Into Egypt

At first you believed you could live through
this, survive in their midst without being  changed.
The mind a pure pool of rainwater, nothing
could disturb. Not by fall of leaf, nor frog  plop
against the still surface of your most   resolute state.
But the tribute they exact seeps ever so   slowly
out of the skin, each pore giving up a   single grain
of salt, shining like a diamond. They take  your flesh,
hand on the shoulder, cupping your balls,   mold
it in a manner suitable to their needs. They  dress you
in fine suits. Don’t slump, posture has  purpose, strike
a pose that commands respect. You walk down  corridors
of oaken plush, past landscapes and the   still life
paintings of Old Masters dimly lit under the  hoods
of brass lamps. Taught to damn by silence
or a steady gaze: This one stays, this one  out.
And the things you hear yourself say,
you never thought would so easily pass
your lips. The spit in your mouth   become acid.
But worst of all is what you hear yourself  think.
That nothing matters, that no one is   watching.
The clear pool gone stagnant,   greenish—leaves lining
the bottom, a muck of decomposing bills.   Small insidious
things breeding in those shallows. Each one  another
you, gasping for air, rising to claim its   share.

 

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