Three Poems

POETRY by Michael Rutherglen


The Flâneur’s Ecstasy


A fluorescent grocery.
TV palaver.
His image, dim twin in his

suede and denim, distends
on cold-storage doors,
recurs as he nears
the counter.

On a closed-circuit screen,
surveils himself
become his own subject,
standing where he stands staring

away from himself





Then went down to the street and eased
new lenses over his eyes and scanned
the daily scape:
transit-loop trajectories
in idealized lines along
buses’ sides;
squared feet, vacancies, occupancy
rates on building faces;
and everywhere prices:
for carbohydrates, hydrocarbons,
combustion engines,
laptops, fabrics; summaries
of larcenies in near-
by alleys;
and farthest in the field of view,
a civil monolith’s dimensions
and history beneath
the named, connected vertices
of animals catasterized,
occluded in the blue.
He looked, as if to try to look away,
down: the concrete read,
calcium carbonate, granite aggregate
and on in a poly-
syllabic sprawl
in smaller
type he waded,
inundated, down;
then lifted off and then let fall
the diaphanous, data-tinted
modality of the implicit made
visible—blinking deeply
the world unparsed, unfathomably
faceted vast datum,
each facet
fathomable to the atom.



False Moab Aubade


False sibyl, with her temple
on his clavicle, she’d mapped
the contours of a future with her fingers
down his side as a sunset
canyon’s sandstone flow,

and they’d whispered. To trace
the straight cairn of her spine he would fly
over sierras, to see her
under wind-eroded stone
parabolas at dusk,

and tells her so. The off echo
in the phone then is don’t, as if she spoke
down the mouth of a depleted
uranium mineshaft. Why?
Static like background radiation,

the definitive click, then
for weeks he won’t sleep, but lie and repeat
speeches she’d made in
the imperfect prophetic
to him to himself and make of them these

lines for the promised
Moab, where he never woke.


Michael Rutherglen (MAPH’15) is a founding editor of The Winter Anthology.

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