Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Jotunheim by Fred Pollack

I pass as a scholar
among my kind. Which means
they trick and trip and beat me
with less humor
than they show each other, which is little.
I make myself useful, endlessly
strategizing trolls,
cold, wolves, the Great Wolf, the World-Serpent –
our friends on the Last Day.

I also theorize the humans
we eat, rape, crush, and otherwise
ignore. They are so wearisomely
busy, having to hunt,
work, move about,
unlike us, who simply are.
There exists among them a practice:
they pretend before each other
to be other humans – kings,
beauties. Peering
unnoticed, disguised as a mountain,
at this the first time, I saw
behind these players a painted mountain
and thought it was the star.

I also – mocked, unthanked
for my advice, which is nonetheless taken –
keep an eye on our enemies,
the gods. An eye
hurt by the glare
and color they live in. They assume,
presumptuously, they too are colors –
the One-Eye’s love of knowledge,
the Hammerer’s usually justified
boasting, the kindness
of the shining-haired woman
who brings fruits, even Loki’s evil –
not merely painted props,
and thus superior to our greyness.
They will learn better at the end of this cycle
when we both march to one doom.

Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press.  Other poems in print and online journals.  Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

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