ON A THEME OF MATTHEW ARNOLD’S
The scholar gypsy never moved. He stayed
as still as the center of a record.
No sound escaped him and he never prayed.
He held down the same corner everyday
without interest, without being bored—
this scholar’s a gypsy who always stays
just where you leave him and he never strays.
His eyes are gray, solid as a steel door
that keeps out sound. He never stalks his prey—
They come to him, docile as some new-spayed
puppy. They want to lick the secret lore
off this scholar. Gypsies move. He stays
right there. Women hope to lift him up. They
offer hands, coins, looks like raindrops and more
sound than he can escape. They never pray
like mantises but they hunger for play.
He avoids their elastic powers, ignores
non-scholars. This gypsy will stay,
escaping dead sounds. You don’t need to pray.
Union Square: Tony Bennett’s heart is missing.
Long gone. Postcards only. Removing scrawls
some kid splashed on the Bridge. Those two kissing
in Union Square don’t know his heart’s missing.
They hear the old song, down to the hissing
of sad vinyl. Dad would love this. They’ll call
from Union Square. Tony Bennett’s missing
him. They’ll mail lots of postcards with long scrawls.
Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Starting from Tu Fu was just published by Encircle Publications. A new collection is due out in December from Cherry Grove. He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. Titles on request. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/