Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A poem for this moment

This is a tiny excerpt from Thomas McGrath's long poem, LETTER TO AN IMAGINARY FRIEND, PARTS I AND II, published in 1970 by The Swallow Press. It may be 39 years old, but it couldn't be more timely.


In New York at five past money, they cut the cord of his sleep.
In New York at ten past money they mortgaged the road of his tongue.
Slipped past the great church of song and planted a century of silence
On the round hearts' hill where the clocktower the cock and the moon
Sang.
          At a quarter past money in New York a star of ashes
Falls in Harlem and on Avenue C strychnine condenses
In the secret cloisters of the artichoke.
                       At half past money in New York
They seed the clouds of his sleep with explosive carbon of psalms,
Mottoes, prayers in fortran, credit cards.
                       At a quarter to money
In New York the universal blood pump is stuffed full of stock
    quotations:
And at Money all time is money.

3 comments:

Nancy Devine said...

go north dakota writers!
the imagery is amazing in the excerpt you posted.

BarbaraS said...

Sheesh, you're dead right: it's right on the money ('scuse pun please)

Howard C. Rubin said...

Mark, thanks for recommending this poem to me several years ago. I learned from it that I can write poetry in complete sentences and still capture the lyrical! He manages to convey the personal narrative too. Impressive.