Winter 2008, Volume 24.2
Marvin Glasser (PhD, English Literature) taught for many years at Pace University in New York City. Since retiring, he has devoted himself to his passion for writing and publishing his poetry.
Looking at the Bright Side
The life’s fine, I’m content with it.
A blow now and then, pain
over the loss of lover or friend,
boils, bitterness, anomies—
these are only to be expected.
They’re the collateral damage comes of breathing.
But my skin fits well enough,
the ground’s held firm so far,
day still follows night, and I’ve managed
to hold on to the conviction that I’m me
and not merely an obscurity of genes.
For whatever that’s worth.
Sometimes, even, when the light slants right,
when the air is composed of the right mix
of moisture and dust, the world turns gold
and rose, becomes a dream of a world.
And the life’s fine, I’m content with it.
Boils and bitterness get little play.
I’ve also known the ease of the blank mind,
the absence elsewhere, the nothing time.
How the life elides then, moves along
so effortlessly, feels so fine.
Not something that can be willed, naturally,
but falls neatly into your lap.
Still, there’s the little death in the gut,
like a crab clamping down, at three a.m.
Alone. The darkness flowing in and around.
The utterness of what’s to come.
But at nine the life is fine, and content,
bland of face, settles once again.
On a Path Along the Hudson
The river, skin flecked with white,
still lined the path.
The occasional gull still hung
in the blue hollow overhead.
New Jersey hadn’t moved.
Nothing was different,
Except for the rat.
It lay on its side at its ease,
its rest profound,
a delicate bloom of intestine
bright and glistening
with fresh blood emergent
out of its underbelly.
It had seemed an idyll’s setting—
water and sky, poised bird,
the habitation of a neighboring state—
a decorous stage for a summer’s day.
The rat’s presence discomposed.
It shifted the lineaments of things,
drained the color out of them, and the gull
buckled as though hit with a loss of purpose.
On either side of the river
states began to become estranged.
The small death, though, remained fixed.
Nothing in it stirred.