Leonard Gontarek (Philly, USA): Five Poems


Jackson Pollock was afloat in his life

with a view of burning cruise ships,

which was the world, if that makes sense,

and I understand if it doesn’t.

I think of Pollock when I am walking the edge

of a field in autumn imprinted with shadows

of leaves, and lit leaves among the dark aspects.

I connect the calm to Pollock,

strangely, you might think.

Pollock once sat in a field with an elixir,

after selling his soul to the devil.

A mixture of whiskey and dusk.

It looked like the glass was frothing,

but it was ordinary mist.

Recently I looked a Pollock painting,

which, always sacred to me,

looked like a bunch of paint piled on a canvas.

One of the saddest afternoons.


The birdsong is repartee, curt

and haunting.

The world calls me momma.

A woman, fleur-de-lis

stockings, sails past.

She’s beautiful, I suggest

to the man at the end of the bench.

Buddy, you wouldn’t know a beautiful woman

if one came up to you and bit you on the ass

I think I would.

Jesus Saves. Of course,

then, Jesus kills too.

It rains on lush trees

and small breaks in sky. Hard.


You introduced me to ouzo.

If you sprinkled a few drops

of water in the clear liquor,

it turned smoky. Remember?

Afterward we were drunk enough to make love.

A gray day with white and pink blossoms in the trees.


It turned cool again tonight.

The first of Spring fast approaches.

I remember a man hammering a nail

through a piece of tin. It must have been zero out.

I didn’t ask him why he was doing that.

The stars come out like soft white bulbs.

I have nothing. I know it’s not true,

but that’s how it seems.

I am a blind man in a Zen story,

without even a lantern.

You don’t know what I’m talking about,

see what I mean.


See how the rain & screens form a way to you.

It is not just that the way is lit by brilliant maples.

It is more than that. In the reserve of dark,

we are happy to be pained by love & mysteries,

so meaning may elude us. Oblivion, blissfully so.

All night long. God fingers us, all night long.

Cars skirl the wet streets. Brilliant red cars.

Leaves don’t so much fall, as

are dumped into wet needles.

Difficult to tell dream from the other thing,

Inhabit this world when I damn well feel like it.

Compassion is not a requirement. Mystery makes

matters worse & my shadow is small, affectionate,

wiry, smells like wet hair.

© Leonard Gontarek 2008