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Sample Poems by Carl Rosenstock

Elegy for a Musician

in memoriam Patrick Chamberlain

I still don't recall the weather then,
Only that it was October after
You were done with yourself and all
That was left when the wake had blurred

The absence of light was the event reduced
To murmurs, confusion, phone calls, photographs
That barely insinuate how you sounded when
Drunk and reeling in harmony we sang

In the few hours before sunrise. On stage,
Singing sweetly so that no one would ever
Leave you alone, how you believed the sound
Of your songs would still the crowd : for you,

A desperate act of love played against noise
Never drowned out, become so deafening
It exploded into silence.

8 X 10

There are only a few times
During the day when
The dimensions of the shadow
Are those of the body.

At night, only through
Correct positioning,
Can the body's dimensions
Be drawn into proportion
With those of the shadow.

It is true, I suppose,
That, as you move closer
To your shadow, the ratio
Approaches one to one.

What if the shadow
Was a hard thing, not
Where I interrupt light
Fixing that patch of ground ?

I would polish that
Adamantine dark into
Beads - pierced and laced
To grace your neck.

The Mystery of Systems

Once upon a time, on my way to work,
Or more properly, my way to the subway,
I froze. Nothing dramatic -
The magnet in my heart
Found iron under the street And I was seized to the spot.

Once upon the way to my heart,
I found time seized
Under the street. Nothing -
A properly dramatic magnet -
Froze my way to work.

Once nothing dramatic froze time - the iron
Under the subway - to the magnet
In my heart, I was seized
On my way to the street.

Once seized, my magnet heart
Under the street, I found nothing.
In time, the subway froze,

The magnet in my heart froze,
I found nothing dramatic.

Once I was nothing dramatic, I froze.