Letterpress, Bangor; Herd, Sheepscot; Vibrations, Crystal by Kevin McFadden

Letterpress, Bangor


I, too, discern it: an impression of the impression
left on leaves, the broadside’s bite, an invitation
through the mail in a bygone, backhanded braille.
The leaden shadows that hide there, in our words.
Type lives on, thank Gutenberg, in our unsubtle
century, with a pass through Whitman’s fingers—
This latent mine—these unlaunch’d voices—
but rarer and rarer, slipped shophand to shophand,
rarer and rarer is the specimen in recto that spares
the verso. We don’t look verso, indent-bent.
The LED is our screen, it projects only forward,
the LEAD is some backward lament.
We crunch, retrip, and reminisce about when
accomplishment in this was (the word was) a kiss.



Herd, Sheepscot


Some wield their I like a maestro’s baton,
tap-tap-tap, so the groaning strains of the inner
orchestra cease; a wand to summon the storm,
cue the rain, and command the lightning strike.
My I is an even flimsier stick, a shepherd’s goad,
a willow switch with which I move my pet flock
of peeves, embarrassments, grudges, and regrets.
I must be good, though; haven’t lost one yet.
They come to me in dreams, my charges,
from all the crags and hollers where they feed,
wake me from pleasant pastures into their
present pasts. Come on, I grumble, rousing that
funky accompaniment to heed my lead again,
their meh-meh-meh attuned to me-me-me.



Vibrations, Crystal


No more cards. No more palms. No more gossip on
the Great Arcanum. No conjuring golems. No looking
to the Book of Changes (strange I, pronounced “Ye”).
No belomancy, birds, crystals, I’m done dowsing
destiny. Ouija bored. My psychic friend can call me.
No celebs or vibes. No Trevi coins. No Bible
roulette or Fates of Virgil, I’ll turn a new page:
You shouldn’t try to divine—it’s wrong to know—
What fates the gods have in store … and you don’t mess
With Babylonian stars. Better to bear what will be,
Whether this the last winter you’ll see on the seacliffs.
Wise up, pour the wine, life’s short, slacken those
Long hopes. Seize the day, with small trust in more.

I peruse my Horace. Then my horoscope.

Kevin McFadden
Kevin McFadden is the author of the poetry collection Hardscrabble, winner of the George Garrett Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the New Writer Award from the Great Lakes Colleges Association. Two of his poems were anthologized in Seriously Funny: Poems About Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, And Everything Else, edited by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby.

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