Acquainted with Mark,
I walk to the bookshop;
not the one with the *****,
instead the neon green nightmare
where there’s nothing good to read.
It’s not so much that I’m searching
for anything in particular, but the sun
has gone down and there’s a need in me
to get out of the house and walk around
someplace that feels like someplace.
Walking past the skateboards,
(Why the **** are there skateboards here?)
I start looking for Mark.
“He doesn’t live here” they say, “He never has.”
No, he doesn’t, I gather.
The King does though,
and if I wanted to fall in love
with a vampire there, I certainly could.
But, Mark is nowhere to be found.
The Laureate of Drunkards has a room
there, but he hasn’t moved in and the
staff cannot remember the last time they
Dr. Lovecraft and Chitulu have been known to set
up a lemonade stand now and again, but they never
stick around very long, their product is too sour
for palettes around these parts.
Regardless of this, my search continues.
Mark is not here today, but Robert Parker
has rented some space and is rooming with
Ray Chandler, down the hall from Larry Block,
sometimes they cook up some pasta and mussels
in white wine, with good bread.
Sometimes they pan fry steaks, and make home fries
drinking rye until it’s all medium rare.
It’s mysterious, how Mark became an afterthought
and we all hope he hasn’t been murdered, kidnapped,
or met with some other form of foul play.
It’s poetic really,
how Mark will come around now and again
he’s not lost or forgotten,
he’ll be waiting for me when I get home.
We’ll sit in the dark, under the lamp,
together well read his poem titled: “Poem”
and I’ll tell him that he’s better at this noir stuff
than all those other hacks.
But, for now, Mark remains…Stranded.
My poetic homage to Mark Strand (April 11, 1934 – November 29, 2014).
His work is a new discovery and very inspiring, but for a moment he was lost and it took a minute or so of hanging out with some pulp noir authors to find him.