Forgotten Faces

September 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

Composed (I suppose) in the Summer of ’62 (or 3)

when I hid out at my old desk behind the basement bar and wrote the first few chapters of my first unfinished novel on a rented Underwood, under the influence, so to speak, of Thomas Wolfe and Kerouac. Sandra had recently broken my heart, and The Lonesome Future of Lonnie Ford projected me through him sojourning the world, hitchhiker, homeless: outside in.

The prologue described the brutal interrogation of a Russian Army colonel by a sadistic young sub-altern in whom at the end he sees himself. Chapter One was on the road in Texas, waitress with a baby, passing trains; then Dallas…

This poem was its preface.

I am a thousand miles from the City across the waters
Of time and longing;
I am a thousand years from love over the waves
Of woe.
My ship sails slowly, circling, sail-less,
And there is no wind;
The blueblack sea reflects eternal night:
I am lost before the dawn.

(Yet faintly I perceive the glow of lights
Beyond the blackened sea and starless nights.)

Ahoy!

(And I can hear the melancholy strain
Of City strings,

And smell the City rain.)

I am a thousand miles from solitude
Of sun and sea;
Yet still my soul reflects my somber mood,
Revealing me.

And there is no wind.

I drift slowly, sail-less, circling, suddenly to sigh;
A thousand miles.

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