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Brian Oarr Jul 2015
"In Modern Drama we turn a critical eye
   into the conditions of real life and morality." --- Arlen Rambush

           Modern Drama 101

Her life had become an Ibsen scenario,
cloaked, as it was, in furtive AOL chat rooms,
seeking the romance no longer orbed in marriage,
rather to be panned from the internet wellspring.

It wasn't so much inconstancy, as it was whimsy;
more a channeling of Deneuve, than profiling Gabler.
And she found they flocked to her,
pigeons to be shooed away, should they get too close.

Soul of the house, everything to husband and family,
yet, it was in cyber tryst where she flourished,
that informed the powerful intellect at intervals
with mother and a carte blanche ingénue.

It's possible she sought to reform them,
tear them down --- or no --- it was conquest.
It was not she that needed men,
it was she that absorbed them in hedonistic pleasure.
Brian Oarr May 2015
One slept soundly in those Adirondack nights,
blanketed in youthful exuberance from
acidic rain pollution heralding the Crack of Doom.

The fish we caught still fit for human consumption,
the marble statues not yet melting in city parks,
nor green pastures distributed with a browning blot.

No, time was far from reconciled with nature,
the child in us still curled up at the center,
our songs still clarion beneath a complicated sky.

You might say our mountains had a low grade fever,
that there were generous shadows sunning across our chest,
but, Midwest chimneys bilged us with their discharge.

I can't go back, reality too painful a guardian,
every mountain bivouac of boyhood long diseased.
Acid rain has killed the over 1000 lakes of upstate New York and with them my heart.
Brian Oarr Mar 2015
that I ran into my friend Vic was a good thing
because we leaned on the shadowy cars and he gave me
some new words:  Faith,  Reconciliation,  Continuance.
But driving home, they began to fill me up with grief
so I tossed them out the window like a finished cigarette.

And I went down to talk to the creek, who was filled with a grief
of her own, a grief of too much water having fallen
in too few days.  And she had me dash my empty beer bottles
against her tortured stones that night, had me make
the shrill cry of a hawk as I let each one fly.
And with each crash she gave me back my former words,
my old & tarnished words, the fs and ts
honed sharp enough to really hurt somebody bad.   And sharp
enough to hack a trench into my chest, so the water could roll in
like freshened blood, roaring the way it roars against
the creekstones:  girl you're alive, alive, alive . . .

I call the creek a woman because she had a woman's wisdom,
a woman's bitter tears, even had the housewife's old cliché
about how all love ends in either death, or separation
from those we love.  And the creek made me remember
how they want you to believe the only way off the meathook
is by dying first.
She said: *whatever you do, whatever you do
don't let yourself be the one who dies first.
Taken from Lucia Perillo's first collection of poems, "Dangerous Life"

Northeastern University Press --- copywright 1989
Brian Oarr Jan 2015
She caught on to algebraic notation, as if,
she'd been born in the 64 square matrix,
whose precise logic spoke her mother tongue

They discussed, at length, the fianchetto formation ...
... how the defensive fortress of the castled King
was akin to the monarch's personal Masada

... how the power of the doubled Rooks and Queen
in the latent lance of Alekhine's Engine
gored the other position in thermodynamic dissipation

When he pointed out the cloaked irony of
Queen being strongest, but King paramount,
she shrugged, as if it were to be expected

Shaking hands, agreeing to the draw,
she smiled, joy precipitating from her face,
knowing there could be a world without losers
Jessica and Grandpa play chess
Brian Oarr Oct 2014
“Beyond the Last Lamp”
                            (Near Tooting Common)

By Thomas Hardy


While rain, with eve in partnership,
Descended darkly, drip, drip, drip,
Beyond the last lone lamp I passed
                 Walking slowly, whispering sadly,
                 Two linked loiterers, wan, downcast:
Some heavy thought constrained each face,
And blinded them to time and place.


The pair seemed lovers, yet absorbed
In mental scenes no longer orbed
By love’s young rays. Each countenance
                 As it slowly, as it sadly
                 Caught the lamplight’s yellow glance,
Held in suspense a misery
At things which had been or might be.


When I retrod that watery way
Some hours beyond the droop of day,
Still I found pacing there the twain
                 Just as slowly, just as sadly,
                 Heedless of the night and rain.
One could but wonder who they were
And what wild woe detained them there.


Though thirty years of blur and blot
Have slid since I beheld that spot,
And saw in curious converse there
                 Moving slowly, moving sadly
                 That mysterious tragic pair,
Its olden look may linger on—
All but the couple; they have gone.


Whither? Who knows, indeed. ... And yet
To me, when nights are weird and wet,
Without those comrades there at tryst
                 Creeping slowly, creeping sadly,
                 That lone lane does not exist.
There they seem brooding on their pain,
And will, while such a lane remain.
Were you to ask me, "What is your favorite poem?", it would be this one. This poem haunts me, as it once haunted Hardy.
Brian Oarr Sep 2014
Through the airport window pane
isolated, I watched the jet
traverse the field in silent shimmering motion.
My vagrant gaze remained
fixed upon the infinite horizon
long after the shadowy
plane had passed from view.
This seemed to me to parallel
my motionless furtive feelings,
as after one I've loved
has migrated in another season.

It was not long after this
that she re-entered the room,
bathed in the murmur of
alluring fragrance which
quickly drew my mind from
the solitude of thought to
a sensual appreciation of her perfume.
How easily she drew my mind astray
from pleasant thought of you and yesterday.
I recalled how earlier this morning,
as she lay neither asleep, nor awake,
but somewhere in between,
I had tried to touch her outstretched hand,
yet, uncannily she had withdrawn it.
The smoke that wafted above our bed then
was the only pervading reality and
not the Mona Lisa smile on her face,
nor the emptiness of my longing hand.

She's said, She's ready ---
--- that her bags are packed ---
and shouldn't we be going?
Yes, Yes I suppose it's time.

And a wind howling in my brain recalled,
I'd either been here once before or
seen it etched upon an empty sky.
Brian Oarr Sep 2014
You would not come with me
through constellations of Jack-in-the-Pulpit,
your reasons shrouded in obscurity.
I went there once to pray ---
Did I tell you? ---
I spied a grey squirrel
gnawing a cherished butternut
in a fury of drunken hunger;
forgot at once my prayers.

You went instead, alone
to the Kingdom of the Mushroom.
I sealed my mouth
afraid to enter there.
You saw violent phosphorous rivers and
vivid galloping colors,
that were of mystical internal origin.

We might have eaten
vine-ripe strawberries and
drunk cold mountain water,
that gushed from the mouth of
the cave under the cliff.

Perhaps, like me you were afraid,
terrified by florid fields and familiar female.
How sad ---
Sometimes I am so dense ---
I should have told you,
*I went there in the distance
as a girl.
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