The Sand County is going on sabbatical

I regret to announce that I am going to have to put The Sand County on sabbatical.

I have been mulling this over for some time and have come to the conclusion that it has to be done. Here is why:

I am in the last stages of completing my doctoral dissertation and unfortunately that and my several other jobs are soaking up all of my time and creative energy. This is a difficult choice to make because writing poetry is one of the great passions of my life. . . and means much more to me than my dissertation.

I put off this decision because I didn’t want to have to place poetry second to my graduate work. However, I realize that I need to do this because the sooner that I do, the sooner my PhD will be completed.

I am not abandoning poetry nor am I abandoning The Sound County (which turns 5 years old in July). I will be back. I promise.

White Rhino

Rhino Wars

White Rhino
They said, Good Luck! Good Luck! What a handsome couple! –Archibald MacLeish (“The Shallow Grass”)

You have been placed under
armed guard
this might make you
a candidate for higher office

But is it truly blasphemous to
say there is no higher office
than to be

To be
that one thing or the many
horns a savannah made
your tusks mean

There is a vigil going and
breaths are baited

My daughter looks closely
at holograms
in a picture book
she sees your legs moving
your carriage pounding

In digital thunder claps
and aural loops
the trembled toes
of yesterday’s herds

Under armed guard and
innocent, ignorant of
the time mind’s
gears and despond
that has displaced you

Mythically alone,
oblivion.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Photo credit: http://www.poyi.org/69/photos/02/69-02-StirB-B-11.jpg

A quote from Euripides’ Electra

Orestes:
“Ah! there is no sure mark to recognize a man’s worth; for human nature hath in it an element of confusion. For I have seen ere now the son of noble sire prove himself a worthless knave, and virtuous children sprung from evil parents; likewise dearth in a rich man’s spirit, and in a poor man’s frame a mighty soul. By what standard then shall we rightly judge these things? By wealth? An evil test to use. By poverty then? Nay, poverty suffers from this, that it teaches a man to play the villain from necessity. To martial prowess must I turn? But who could pronounce who is the valiant man merely from the look of his spear? Better is it to leave these matters to themselves without troubling.”

For an online version of Euripides’ play: http://classics.mit.edu/Euripides/electra_eur.html

Innis

canoe

Innis
The name of my country will pass into obscurity–Euripides (The Trojan Women)

And if I’m not
mistaken
We can search
from farm to
farm
-Scott Walker (“Farmer in the City”)

I meet you on paper
that palimpsest
no one recounts your
stories over the Oxford
bonfires

When the auctioneer’s
call comes down
I see you
in two places:

Gathering hickory
and walnuts in the yard
listening for
the railway

Then on the platforms
at each sparse
junction
Norwich, Otterville
where tracks have been
torn up for
snowmobiles

Still I can see
that occasional child
an accident now
as then
seeing cycles and
cyclones
sensing concealed
explanations

Awake to seasons
soils and Levantine
tells traded now
for their proprietary
value

Faiths there may
have been many
born
but like Euripides,
herald you were.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Photo credit: http://www.mqup.ca/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/canoe.jpg

Through the rubble

Through the rubble
‘In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.’
–W.H. Auden

I

After birds have bedded
down night
betrayals won’t follow

No matter how hot
day’s night
makes a cool sweep
of the dust

Skins of muslin
gossamer and onion
your thighs
a tress of organdy lying

The window trellis
trees still
are also mute

I have turned up the
hall
I have turned up the
elms

Into cottonwoods their
thick gum
my silent footfalls have
no echo

Oval nests collect the
evidence
inside each turned
down sheeted
breast.

II

There are causeway
houses with stucco
gates
mosaic tile and cool
lime grout

Lodges all bodiced

I think of
their sleeping places
sommeil
locked rooms no
gobbets
dreams in straw
drawn upright in
closets

III

Walking late rouses
suspicion
but who really is above
board here

I’ve not gone to
draw their doors
no matter how hot
the day
this burned over country
through curtains espy
but don’t
open

IV

Nighttime’s cool carries
here on the horse’s
tooth and banks the once
at ease
hills
into reservoirs
of a vernal tarnish
torch green

Central pivot circles

I think down
into the neighborhoods
your hair visible
through the rubble
as wild rose

V

A candle burns in the window
at last
I have come back
with your trust and mine
who will strike first-

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Elm Descry

Elm Descry
When I seemed to see a meaning
In my going or remaining
Not the meaning of the grass
–Archibald MacLeish (The Pot of Earth)

I cannot find my trussed up
arms
atremble inside
this crystal
fog

Feel them I do
though
bent over the last
watermarks on
stone

And fragged
by white with every
vein my
own

Blasted orphans
drowned by lake -November’s
work
a long susurration

Past snaps
of fire

Past spring

Its charnel
woods my breast still
quakes
from learning
how

To bear the bowling
sky
draw water
and touch Terre.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Red

Red
Il pleuvait sans cesse sur Brest ce jour-là
Et tu marchais souriante
Épanouie ravie ruisselante
Sous la pluie
–Jacques Prévert

Your city had no rainy corners
and few giant elms
just the cottonwoods
tamarisk and rattle snakes
frogs that sang in fleeting lakes at
eight thousand feet

You would run up to some mountain
lodge for confabs with mysterious men
and feign surprise
when I would worry
or inquire
then languish behind my cards

What do I owe to you
nothing after all
save all of the lies your body
never told

I remember that first night
quilted now by thick cloud
hiding no light

Electric trains beneath your lips
third rail wrists
and a litany of tattooed warnings
prophecies on the tracks of your arms

A wild free giving
of red body hair
I barely knew where.

Jeremy Nathan Marks