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Old 02-13-2018, 05:33 PM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Default Bay Area

O San Francisco
“Son, observe the time and fly from evil” ~ Ecc.V.23

I

At 5 am I jog
to the harsh yammer
of your vaunted saints


It is February

A somnambulant
offers me the door
of a small icebox
in Kerouac alley

presses it upon me
as I pass in the dark


soft laughter

II

Far from the loud bar
at Tratto where
my phone pinged
last night to alert me
that somebody nailed
the woman’s halfpipe
in Pyeongchang


far from the conference
at Moscone Center
where scientists plead
pre-emptive medicine
wellness data
the Cancer Moonshot
leveraging cloud-based platforms
and protocols meant to exclude
human genius

the sky is hiding


III

Flying out I read
a brilliant novel
set in Manhattan
and here
during World War II

and I dreamed
of the
stairway
to a salt white tower
an arc between oceans
that comes down

to c
haracter
and oblivion


to red and yellow lights
on torn dragon awnings

sunrise on a Catholic
church with the words
of Ecclesiastes
ringing the steeple clock
and bells in your storied fog

IV

No longer do I fear
the prospect of abrupt silence
the deep intestine whir
of wheel and cable
slamming still
or the hollow shadows
of the labyrinth

Now that I am dying
I am in love with the sea




___

original part III (proto-part IV)

III

Flying over I read
a brilliant novel
set in Manhattan
and here
during World War II

It comes down
to character
and oblivion


red and yellow lights
on torn dragon awnings

sunrise on a Catholic
church with the words
of Ecclesiastes
ringing the steeple clock
and bells in your storied fog

Now that I am dying
I am in love with the sea

.

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 02-15-2018 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:02 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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A poem on current topics and those mentioned. I am not aware of not being fit as a fiddle.
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Old 02-14-2018, 01:40 AM
Ken Brownlow Ken Brownlow is offline
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Rick

Pleased to hear you will be playing on for a while.

The more times I read this poem the more I enjoy it, the only part that hasn't settled nicely for me is here



Flying over I read
a brilliant novel
set in Manhattan
and here
during World War II


maybe it is just me, but I wish there was some other way to get to here


It comes down
to character
and oblivion

which I think is brilliant.
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Old 02-14-2018, 05:19 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Rick,

The Manhattan Project? If so, I too think it could come in a bit differently.

I like this whole thing a good deal, and the ending comes out of the blue like a raptor. I am glad it is fiction.

Cheers,
John
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:59 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks Ken and John,

I worked out on part III a bit. I then turned the last two stanzas into a part IV.

No reference to the Manhattan Project is intended.

Let me know if this is any better.

RM

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 02-15-2018 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:50 PM
Kevin Greene Kevin Greene is offline
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So that I might approach this poem in the 'right' way... Do I sense a certain scorn or impatience with San Francisco or how it is imagined? ('Scorn' may be too harsh a word.)
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:56 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Hi Kevin,

No scorn toward San Francisco intended. Some scorn toward the conference attendees, however, and I suppose San Francisco is the kind of infotech/biotech hub where such a conference may attract a bad element. But personally I love the city. It kind of fosters oblivion.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:04 PM
Kevin Greene Kevin Greene is offline
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I only ask because the vocative particle 'O' isn't used all that much anymore without a certain irony. And 'vaunted' has a certain archness to it. Even 'storied fog' has a certain feeling of skepticism about it.

So, time for me to read the poem.
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:36 PM
Kevin Greene Kevin Greene is offline
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I like the poem for its evocative moments, but I have to admit to its being just out of my reach. I feel a bit dumb reading the poem, to be honest. I don't understand the 'salt white tower.' (Coit Tower? I doubt this even while asking.)

I'm not sure about 'as I pass in the dark / soft laughter.' (Is it 'dark, soft laughter'? Or is it something more ethereal? Is soft laughter the runner's imagining? His or her label or impression? The poet intervening with a kind of commentary?)

Should I know this novel? Does it matter if I don't?

The quote from Ecclesiastes itself is important? (Its history on the church is rather humorous.)

Am I looking too deeply into all of this. Should I just settle in with the mood of the piece? I ask these things as I suspect others might ask these same questions.

Finally, is there a tie to Whitman's "Out of the rolling ocean the crowd." (Hahaha! Maybe I'm just being silly now, but I feel it.)
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:39 PM
Kevin Greene Kevin Greene is offline
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Oh, and you write 'your storied fog.' You are addressing the city?
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