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Three Poems
Edgard Varèse unawares in New York

         He certainly wasn’t thinking “the emancipation of dissonance,”
as Schöenberg put it, slouched as he was, rumpled tie and all
from someone across mimicking Evans if it was Walker Evans
in those grainy black & white nights with the El rattling home
while signals dotting the darkness dawning
the same shrouded light the snowdrifts the awnings
and dumbwaiters all those under-the-table jobs he’d taken
without so much as a flinch, like selling
blood or a rare autographed copy or the many lost drafts
in pre-war Berlin when the art of taking a walk
stretched into shadows obliquely leading you nowhere
yes nowhere the damp slipping in quickly.
Never mind so far and so near.
Never mind the air so heavy with the scent of camellias.

Mark Rothko …

         The parade of wrongdoers long since gone to their graves
and the streets have been emptied
and their stories have spun out and ended, mostly forgotten,
in the most mundane of ways
over subterfuge, greed, and the attempted usurping of justice.

… and now he sits deeply absorbed in his thoughts
as he’d done many times past, in the colors on colors,
and consumed by his demons
near the Boat Basin Central Park West
when the sky turned overcast with that wintry 4 o’clock hue.
The sun thickly veiled. The few
birds that had landed and then gone to rest.

Alphonse de Lamartine returns to the family house after more than two decades.

         Gone are the sounds of the passing landaus
the barn cats the cypress allée gently swaying at noon
the open French windows the gossamer branches the sky never more blue
So too the dog days with even the faintest of flickers
the fillies making their way to the barn as twilight descended
those clear and mild evenings
the drawing-room filled with the chatter of friends
the quick bedtime embrace the kiss on the forehead
a field of tall grass caught by a breeze in seclusion
those nights alone in the kitchen
those long-ago rides into autumn. 

Gerard Malanga is the author of a dozen books of poetry, including Whisper Sweet Nothings & Other Poems (Bottle of Smoke Press) and recently completed his memoirs, entitled In Remembrance of Things Past.