Rodger Kamenetz writes a poetry of wild juxtaposition in which the unlikely commingle, promising but never truly finding meaningful connection: “Every song promises salvation from the old time religion of youth…” but “[i]f you leave the house with only a penny don’t count on painted footsteps to Broadway.” These three poems find their voice in the moments when our story almost comes together, but then unravels before we can understand our own meaning: “Did that prove the futility of natural logic or was it a sample of night? I wonder. I wonder and wonder.”
by: Rodger Kamenetz
SUCH A DEAL
An investor in cattle offered me five hooves for my birthday he could not deal in silver. An inventor of algorithms for the sake of pure poetry offered me Casaubon’s Key to All Mythologies completed at last. When I touched the pages they crumbled into gold dust valuable for sure but nothing like all knowledge. Much of the gold went up my nose. I considered the hoof deal but without my birthday how would I figure syllabi for the youngsters of Thebes? I was starving for a glass of water at the trough clear worshipful water. No one was offering blue oceans no one said sanctimony was the secret ploy of the patriarchy. Undo the ploy and patriarchy would play alone. The Egyptian children studied the textbook I scribbled on the side of the pyramids– gold in the late sun like the dust trapped in my nose. O cattle purveyor give me seven lean years and I promise you a line of fat ones while Pharaoh cries for his son lost in God’s darkness.
THE M BUS
If you leave the house with only a penny don’t count on painted footsteps to Broadway. There’s a stubborn crop of no’s between you and the footlights and your dancing looks desperate. Toes break like tulip stalks in the hot applause. I was waiting for a bus while philosophizing. The M never came. Did that prove the futility of natural logic or was it a sample of night? I wonder. I wonder and wonder. I’m not getting any older. There seems to be a problem with the time machine. The penny wore a hole in my jeans with its copper ridges and fell out on 42nd street to the amusement of monkeys. They call it Times Square but I call it time’s circle. I keep meeting myself leaving the theater younger and younger. When I see me I dare not say a word. There are poems in that silence I never waste on commonplaces. That is my philosophy ladies and gentlemen. I worked hard on it waiting for a bus.
First one big beat then another until we all get beaten down. We glug in tune. We are in the pain demographic. Bereft, drifting on little rafts of melody we wash to shore where one hick with a ukulele usurps all Hawaiian music. We swim in the sand our legs flail in dance moves from teenage years. The DJ calls down from his cloud mansion. Every song promises salvation from the old time religion of youth. Then Leonard Cohen gave a hallelujah to bless us to the last inch of our lives. The angels wore black headphones. Getting sick of a song seems like freedom from dying but top 40 plays in the hospice so low it mingles in the dazzle of motes before going out of style completely.