Back to Archive


          "Journal of a mad man let out of war."

Every story has one blunt end.
It holds the center of streets
and keeps the noise of the backyard

from falling through the clouds
in upheaval as always when tornadoes
dust the skin with ashes of the dead.

Soldiers draw laughter downstairs
where Mistress S. stroked the piano for
an old fashioned sing-along. Whose are the
voices reaching for high A natural? Every
broken interval pulls harmony back
from molded notes as Pavarotti opens his
throat and his diaphragm pumps
air he cannot recall. Mozart never ordinary
weds his unique grit of sex and blithe farce
opera buffa spins with sticky palms while
he fingers pink cotton candy spun by Mistress S.

In my secret house, I have kissed many
ordinary women. You were never predictable,
and mystery had its own telescope for meditation.
When we cling we arrange Mozart's notes to  elevate
sacrifice, and never turn our back on the misfortuned
who never know love that tastes of raspberries.
Why do we break bread with words earned
with sweat and written to be revised
once every thirty years as sacrament?

The poem is simply what is.
Ordinary words merit memorial stars.
Silence has no page notes, references to
sources we never understood until decoded
suddenly as a poem does without consent.
I heard him scream fraud, that liar!
"We cannot learn from history. Broken shovels
lean against shadows of the barn wall," he screamed.
He dreams:  "Horses laugh at him.  Chickens peck
at the candy corn dropped by empty ghost hands.
Light dried up when the dream leaked into
a puddle," he snickered.  "The ocean has ruptured
skin from blemish pinched ripe as planet Io
surrounds star Jupiter with 1000kmph.  Winds
lift him up while new rain wets them old rakes.
I saw that old Ford tractor pull the wings off
the beast.  No flight today my safe lover.  Do not
put your words on the back burner before you
cook me well done.  I come with pickles and I throb."
Dreams keep the ocean in bounds but sometimes
the normal flood takes us all down again.
We are wed to the mad, you see.  We love them.
Nothing is more absurd than sanity or boundaries
strung with concertina wire between dreams
that are spoken aloud in the dictionary of suicide.

                                                    Sean Farragher



Per Contra Poetry - Fall 2006