Have It [poem] by Allen Strous

What was not meant to be seen
so present to sight,

the warehouse wall, brick leprous with paint and age,
and still huge blank to the busy street
made only for use

above, the freeway made only for use,
still only for that
under a glaring factory sun

these planes of flatness, endlessly limited—
the wall’s strong disease—
patches of skin as if always about to slough off, staying,
or sloughing off, leaving nothing cleaner.
A place—it does not go away,
but no stillness of place.

Have it,
so much of it,
nothing else

and how to live in such
which is not there, finally,
and is always blaring there—here—

There is only here—no there,
the spring in the field
making it the field—

But I had wanted for all the true, unpretending, some unlikely beauty,
a place for every place, everything, denying nothing.
But there is no category for the wall, looming without one.

Categories deny too much, would deny this ugly wall, its looming,
old underclothes and a body only fit for them,
the maimed face you have to turn away from.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This poem put the editors in mind of the poem “Live Your Way Into the Answer” by Sue Swartz.]

Image by AndreyZeigarnik

Allen Strous is the author of Tired, The Backwaters Press, and one of the authors of The Fifth Voice, Toadlily Press.  New poems have appeared recently in The Cortland Review.