Issue 4,  Poetry

Memory, Time: A Poem in Movable Parts by Mark Fitzpatrick


            sunken ship                 off the coast of
                                    the Andre Doréof dreams forgotten

                        nobody listed as passengers
captain and crew                                             names of no one I knew —

                        but to explore such loss                                  without memory
            this is what time         
                                                            does to all of us


mysterious woods
                        this is the place we waltz to
sloppily built treehouse with a blue-grey tarp
(so now we have shelter)
            the vicious bears sleep year ’round
            honey always in the comb

How stupid of Adam!                                              How callous of Eve!
             to tear it all down for a single fruit


the Bengali girl serving at the Mexican restaurant
the gringo trying his Spanish on her —
Oh, America!


the season of bare skin legs                 women’s thighs
            pastel and feather-light dresses
                                    lifting in the breeze
like Marilyn Monroe


reminiscing                              a circular lake in Michigan
            starlight           in the sky        in water           in eye’s pupil
                                    in window and in wineglass

all these a reflection:

one singular pin-point of light

            but far away                a vast explosion
                        of fire and gas

in space                                                                       in memory


always you will be in my consciousness a scar:
              stake driven through my heart
tears like shards slicing into my face
shredded soul  hopeless                       in re-assembly

but oh!  the bagels on College Street!
              the drum beats of Mongo Santamaria!
                          the Merlot at Oaxaca Kitchen!


deadline —
                        the universe in peril
                                    if you don’t don cape and cowl
                                                at once

                                                deadline —
sometime this afternoon
                        the mad villain will strike
but the day is sunny gold                   the women have halters and shorts
             and damn! this cafe serves one hell of a good Merlot!


this June afternoon                                         it will end
            pieces recalled             —                    perhaps

the way I remember my last night in Chicago after 22 years of actual living:
            a cup of chai at Starbucks
and Billie Holiday sang into the night
            “the way you wear your hat . . . “
as I looked out, a night hawk, at the streetlamps creating
            daylight of the cities shadowy places
and, yeah, I felt there was so much unshakeable
spiritual                         . . .                                 in just remembering

but this lunch at Oaxaca Kitchen with the terrific Merlot,
the young girls sauntering in the sex of summer,
some Asian girl young enough to be my granddaughter flirting with me,
some black dude on a skateboard weaving in the 4 lanes of traffic
and the cop informing him that life is elsewhere —

Will I remember this afternoon?


like vinyl records playing
              these tiny petals in the air with the summer dust

on the Green               a young black girl
              with golden braided hair
                                                                                      (like the Swiss Miss)
and red plaid pants

                                                                   twirling arms, mouthing words,
                                                        spinning her body,        facing one direction,
                                                                                 then the opposite

almost a parallel with the swirling petals

summer must be a music one feels.


Mark Fitzpatrick is a jazz-gospel-world beat poet whose poems, fiction, and drama have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies.  He lived and worked in Brazil, Somaliland, Haiti, and Honduras but nothing beat living and working in Chicago.  He hopes one day to be famous for something related to art.

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