Marsh Hawk Review is an online poetry journal sponsored by the Marsh Hawk Press collective. Marsh Hawk Review will appear twice a year, under the revolving editorship of collective members. Each issue will offer a selection of poems solicited by the editor, in addition to new work posted by poets in the collective.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mark Scroggins


The bouganvillea does not curl

in the acorn, the spores

of the ferns crowd our eyes.

She pressed small hands into

the wet sound, pulled

out shell-fragments, a kind

of wood (white sand) pulled back

her hair elaborate into a sort

of knot-work. Barometers of

jewelry and glittering leather,

infant ear-rings spider-web

hair knotted with sweat.

Arena is sand, to soak up

blood or oil or other

expensive viscous fluids.

My friends roar by, wave out

the windows (cell phone) traffic and commerce

printed our pages, the regular

menhir-delivery those days

interrupted only by postal holidays.

The retinas sutured – minute cables

of scar-tissue, nudges of concentrated

light – to the back walls

of her eyes (so blue!) (freeze frame) home movie

without editing, stretches of nothing

but static words like a camcorder

in a crowd (radio on) The “we” became

royal without our noticing, an axis

around which we spun to the brink

of nausea. Twelve steps, gingerly,

and fell flap upon the cheek-

bone. He was behind the wheel,

true, but he wasn’t arrested:

a way to avoid being crippled,

at least, so he left the baby – dying –

behind; took up arms, bore arms,

brandished the gaudy stippled

drag of money’s uniform.

Their whines of good faith figured

the orange plastic netting around

a construction site, where March means

spring impends, the heat settles down

on the flats. The Lord will know

his own, our sorting is superfluous.

Mystic Seaport

Over some silent footage from the turn

of the last century, Ishmael

narrates the industrial techniques

of drawing forth Leviathan: cinematically

sterilized, the buckets of blood

rendered a grey-black celluloid

shimmer, the work of the precise,

wooden, floating abattoir before me

(for the first time) in living motion

echoes in dull but vivid déjà vu

on the video screen. Too neat:

fifteen, twenty chapters of viscous

dissection tried-out to six

minutes of jerky motion: the Book

of Job in Reader’s Digest condensation.

Oliver Cromwell

(for Steven Moore)

He read of children tossed

at a pike’s end, of cannons

with “God Is Love” scribed round

their barrels. He read of a snake

with garnet eyes, of golden

ringlets curling round the hemp

of a hangman’s noose.

He read of green fields

and mines, of foundries

and factory floors. Pleasures

and game diversions. The tree

which bursts into pink blossoms

of enthusiasm. The trees huddle

suspiciously in the wind, rustle

in green whispers. A village mashed

and shattered under the sun, not one

stone left upon another. Bombers

and fighter jets darkening the sun,

the shop clerk whose weekend sends

him – in militiaman’s uniform –

to take stock – with a bayonet– of a

tentful of refugees. Great men,

whose brows line with the effort

of shaping destiny. Who read old books,

and find their faces there.

1 comment:

Rena Navon said...

I enjoy Cromwell being profiled with great men who end up old men reading old books with their own pictures in them.
For me his was primarily the name of a French play by Victor Hugo. As a French Ph.D. student we were required to know it as the first writing of the Romantic Period. You bury him with a new tag to satisfy the pacifist.
Rena Navon