by Jeffrey Burghauser (November 2022)
Portrait of Gerti Schiele, Egon Schiele, 1909
That a mortal human being
Could write The Mass in B-Minor
Is less of a miracle than
The one that it would constitute
If I could live without my love.
The Poet seldom knows which way the knife
Is pointed. Heaven help the silly brute.
He’s like a man who’s cheating on his wife
Whilst unaware that she’s a prostitute.
Alas, no longer any kind of youth,
I found a crimson coral fan of Truth
Deserted in the sunlight’s ruthless bleach
Upon the sand of Circumstance’s beach:
A full Poetics of the Commonplace
Accepts the actuality of Race.
We scatter our lives among the lives
Of strangers when an innocence connives
With blest America’s superfluous,
Barbaric comfort to withhold from us
The fact that even a serenely slow,
Improbably successful life can go
So very wrong—so very, very wrong.
Ethnicity is real. A cradlesong
Ancestral always is the deftest healer.
But Heaven’s universal love is realer.
Jeffrey Burghauser is a teacher in Columbus, OH. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo and the University of Leeds. He currently studies the five-string banjo with a focus on pre-WWII picking styles. A former artist-in-residence at the Arad Arts Project (Israel), his poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Fearsome Critters, Iceview, Lehrhaus, and New English Review. Jeffrey’s book-length collections are available on Amazon, and his website is www.jeffreyburghauser.com.
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