Saturnalia Ed Foster


The Suicide





Parting’s this sweet pleasure:

rigid, spoken in attack.

So Gavin said, to ridicule;

he walked away.



         decently, you’d meet her,

         half your age.


With ecstasy

you wait.





Nostalgic longitudes of sleep.

Lie down. Round and round,

please hear me out.

The ruin’s in the sound.

Our ancient rain’s enough,

determined here to goad him back.

Our sweet smart reader,

hear me out.

If nothing’s heard,

you’ll only know

who pays the bill.


Be still. To have it so

the loathing boy can

draw his lesson

but imitate no law.

Our structures


like soldiers,


layered down, they even break.

You fall,

and down where

all stand


an angelus

is rung.


Private, we expect

that turn.

Each accepts

its fall


you never know what

more to ask. We

cannot speak. Each

word’s a speckle in

the awkward mind.





Photographs of dogwood

where young girls stand:

we care for her,

for what she was,

for what she’d say.


Sullen, we still care

that she should care.


Flecks of white.

All this furnace world

in images of white.


Take care: the

sullen cannot

truly speak.

The branches will

draw back into sky;

our days have

come apart.





Respect for method,

poised, trained as early

as the workers on the road.


dry themselves anticipating

morbid or nostalgic calls:

see what mirrors do to self-respect.


The proof is in the process—

how much give and take they take—

Jeering Jack’s at breakfast

a hundred mile away.

Double M. is daring happiness today.

She wants to be well known.

What’s wrong, Joanna D?

With applicants so solid

you’ll never get the job.


He wish he’d played at stickball,

his mother with a shawl.

Poverty’s complicit in success.


retrieved are not in nature,

not retrieved in kind.

They do not make the public ours:

our hour. Men are not

made out of words. Virtue’s not

random. To be correct

is not to speak.





The boy grows old,

his shoulders bent,


by Biblical despair;

men lose the things

they turn to law.


There were such nights,


when cars passed quicker,

rain would not be clean,

friends would not enforce the fault,

words would not exceed their cause.

Be still. What poets know

repeats itself. What nature knows

can never be retrieved. Be still.

Water is enough.

You lose it all.

The echos won’t return.

Whatever’s in the water

won’t be in the world.



                  Dear George Sand—

                  We shall work on one another

                  till the moment of our death.

                  What else is there to do?

                            Yours in haste,



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