Long Con

I see it as a hotel.
Room service and the minibar
are great; I seldom leave
my suite except to walk, take in a show,
the show, try out new places.
I’ll have to leave eventually,
skip on the bill. At all times
I have the essentials on me. Meanwhile my office
is the endlessly-extending hallway.
The walls look like upscale Italian mirrors,
dark as obsidian. You’d have to focus
to notice the receding planes
within, and that the surface,
however often wiped, is always tacky.
As I walk, my fans collect in my wake.
They’re forever the same yet different:
new ones fuse with the old, creating
top-heavy, multi-limbed and multi-
empty-headed goons – Christ, are they ugly!
They keep their distance, eyes respectfully lowered,
“inward.” I press my forehead to the walls.
Just beyond my reflection hangs someone
in one sort of trouble, nearby another;
I reach in and pull
whoever’s handiest from the goo,
entrust them to the carpet, and voilà!
Remission. A liver is found. She wakes up.
The UN trucks get through and bring him rice.
The dog returns. He does rehab.
The lost one is returned with time left
for some childhood. And the ones in the hallway
gather new limbs and mouths and wave
their many arms and weep from many eyes and
praise me. Not noticing
the other bodies writhing in the walls,
trillions by my count, who add
as they die to chic darkness. Or seeing,
even when I bow to my reflection,
the more than family resemblance
between me and the sludge … Oh the grating
noise of hosannas, even secular!
If they ever wise up, I’m outta here.



Image Credits: hobvias sudoneighm

Frederick Pollack

Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press), and a collection, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press). Another collection, LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT, to be published in 2018 by Smokestack Books (UK). Many other poems in print and online journals. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

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