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Frederick Pollack

Collapse of the Wave Function

I’ve redone my forties
more times than I can count.
The latest version ended abruptly,
down on the beach when some visiting
oligarchs shot each other
and witnesses. But usually I’m safe,
there or on my balcony with my drink.
The abs and springy hurtless hips
derive from reps and runs I spent
my twenties and thirties on, which no doubt bored
me crazy but I did them. The money came
apparently from two meretricious novels
that metastasized into film. I try not

to think about them. I think about
my look. Half-awake, slightly stupid,
bad but not mean and, of course, hot;
when I walk the beach I’m like, if you get me,
a vacuum cleaner … This coast is immune
to pregnancy, emotion, STDs
and cellulite, and I’ve stayed here the last several
brief lives. I think about the novel,
how a saleable plot is like a tectonic plate,
forever inching toward disaster.
I think about poetry, an ancient world
without geologic activity, orange sun –
how could it still have mountains? Why is there life?


Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press), and two collections, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many other poems in print and online journals.

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