Limits of Narrative

Frederick Pollack

It’s one of those stories from the past:
a set-piece, even a climax
of your personal myth (personal myths, you’ve noticed,
have reemerged since
the rejection of psychoanalysis). And
so saturated with meanings –
class, fateful, metaphysical –
that it has, effectively, none.
But with your second wine spritzer
(why those? and where? Who are these people?),
you’re tempted to tell it. Then, fortunately,
you look around the moderately
well-appointed room and ask yourself
why. Would it turn them to friends,
attracted as to a fireplace
by the warmth of your depths? Make this evening
another touchstone, bend the myth to a tale
of late belonging?
Or will you, which seems likelier, writhe later,
so pointlessly exposed?
There’s also the story itself. What sense would it make
without more knowledge and analysis,
which they’d consider TMI? So “Let it remain …
untold!” like one of those
verse tales of Byron’s that fall flat
because at the end they don’t reveal the secret.
(Half London knew he’d screwed his sister, anyway.)
Viz. “The Corsair.”

Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former reissued 2022 by Red Hen Press. Two collections of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS, (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), BateauFulcrumChiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc.  Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Rat’s Ass Review,  Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc.

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