Three Poems By Rick Mullin

On the Waterfront

"What are the stars but points in the body of God
where we insert the healing needles of our terror and longing?"
~Thomas Pynchon

Enhanced Security outside the bars.
Inside the Yankees losing to the Sox
on rows of television screens. The stars
obscured above the burning vapor blocks
are swollen, indistinguishable. Sunk.
Immortal constellations have dispersed~
De Kooning, Dorothy Gibson, Johnny Kucks.
Sinatra joins the mythic figures cursed
amidst the din of I-Don’t-Give-a-Fucks
at sidewalk tables, poking cell phones, drunk.
The Clam Broth House dissolves in its own light
as rhapsody in neon fades to red.
A decent slice is hard to find tonight.
There’s oxygen available instead
at Satellites with bodies in the trunk.

Hoboken, NJ, August 3, 2018

A crazing landscape hangs above her bed
where sunlight, filtered through the autumn dust
and yellowed curtain, finds the riverhead
reflected in a cumulus of rust.
An oak four-poster with a linen sash,
a wardrobe and a Persian carpet worn
to reckoning about the edges fade
into the harmony of leaf and thorn.
The Blakelock painting of an amber glade
at dusk illuminates her meager cache
of perfume bottles, brushes and a box
of letters. The eternal afternoon,
reflected in the faces of the clocks
in other rooms and hallways, holds the moon
inside a trunk of satins, earth and ash.
Totem Pole

Come at this with your catalogue of birds,
binoculars, and German sailor’s hat.
The priest and anthropologist have words,
but you have little time or space for that
and nothing of the necessary learning.
Pronunciation poses yet another
hurdle for the weekend roustabout.
Evoking Kwakiutl in the mother
tongue would prove impossible without
a docent app to access the discerning
scout or sachem who would know the duck,
and buffalo, the eagle, bear, and brave
by sense of smell and touch. With any luck
the local is familiar with the cave
at which the torch of memory is burning.

Rick Mullin’s poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including The Dark Horse, American Arts Quarterly, The New Criterion, and Rabbit Ears: TV Poems. Exot books recently published a 10th anniversary second edition of his book-length poem, Huncke; his latest collection, Lullaby and Wheel, was published in 2019 by Kelsay Books.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s