Thursday, September 27, 2012

NEW! Poem by John Fenlon Hogan

John Fenlon Hogan


In a country where the earth
is flattened under the big sky’s heel,
15 miles from the interstate—
the closest town a town in which 
the children are below average
and no one turns out to vote,
no one upholds the Sabbath—
—a yellow dot on a map— 
                                   In this place 
which is adjacent to the middle
of nowhere, by which it means
to be no place at all, there is a phone 
booth where you can go to graffiti, 
bury past sins and ex-lovers,
or marvel at the inane. 
                                     But if 
you were drawn there as I was
drawn there, necessarily and by some 
powerful blank, as though searching 
for answers or a new way
of unwelling, then go to the store 
and buy sunscreen, bottled water, 
flashlights. Stuff your haystacks
in a backpack or cram them in your boots 
as if rocks, and carry them
like intentions. 
                       When your GPS 
no longer has a signal or runs
out of battery or otherwise goes
kaput, you can stop panicking—
the Mojave Phone Booth
will manifest itself to you
because you have been cleansed
by ambivalence, and by your own sense 
of proportion. You’ll notice that the glass 
has been shattered by some vagrant
or a person much like the person
you once were, or will come to be,
and The Book has been ripped from its cord 
not as an act of thievery 
but because you are not beyond 
such temptation. As it rings 
—and its ringing for you—
you think about power tools
or stuffed animals
or the family you abandoned
to get here. But the hand has a will 
on this occasion and has already 
grasped the receiver, lifted it— 
there’s no need to bring it
to the ear, no need to do anything, 
really, an all too steady voice
which is your own voice, strange, 
repeating like a glitch in the system: 
Not yet... Not yet... Not yet... 
Whereas the system has no glitch. 

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