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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Good Friday; The Mail; “The Last Syllable of Recorded Time”

By: Robert Hill

Good Friday 2016

--They jailed MLK for marching on Good Friday, 1963.

Waited a while to kill him.

Nothing Good about it unless eternity. But for now, on any day, including Fridays, we cage and burn Lt. Muath Al-Kasasbeh, expendible at 26; we care too late for Mr. Charles R. Ingram III, 51, Navy, perishing ashore in gasoline flames at the Northfield VA (closed on Saturdays).

O, Kurtz, Good Fridays go dark in our hearts, stay that way more than we can bear to see. So we gloze and gloss over the quotidian, baldly confront some faraway ideals, distant terror over seas and deserts, mountain hollows and rampant backyards, magisterial elections, even the houses next door. Yet to salve ourselves—complicity and cause—we feed on eternity. For forgiveness and revenge, we cross our vacant breasts with stone-white lilies.

The Mail, 2004

--Tribler Cottage, Monhegan Island

Last time she was here, she climbed steps to the sun deck, turned left and found his letter in the mailbox, moaned she couldn’t go on vacation without his claim, to work for him, to edit his “book” she would publish or him because she loved him and she was, by God, his Editor.

Her therapist said it “certainly is a vanity book” (she could tell from not having read it at all), but how vain it was to claim she knew them well enough, hale or dying, to render his vanity like kitchen-blistered sugar-sauce.

As she sits wool-blanketed and tucked, reading Jane Eyre by the fire in the den, saying nothing yet about no letter this time from her father, I bring a little wood from the cord across the wet lawn, below the May-cold yellow and white jonquils among granite rocks, and remember a cold few days at his cabin, the two of us there alone, cozy, and burning almost every stick of wood he had gathered, never thinking we would just use it all up before we saw him again.

“The Last Syllable of Recorded Time”

If it all sprang into being with a word, maybe Light or Let or Oops! it’s likely to end the same way, don’t

you think? similarly, with an apocalyptic word, one syllable like “Let the wild rumpus START!” Ah, such

fun is blurry-eyed hope! “and yes I said yes I will Yes” in spite of misty Kentucky sites between Louisa and Ashland,

where green hillscapes give way to mountainous oil drums, and pillars sizzle in many languages, flicker chaotically

toward godhood. "Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision." Right

now, rain muffles the soughing highway noise except three weary syllables: Stop. Just stop.


Robert W. Hill, educator since 1963, making poems, loving wife and family, tending dogs. Despite so much, believing in The People. Born in Alabama, now in South Carolina. Ever grateful to Dickey, Lieberman, Fraser, Davidson, Moore, Stringer, and Smith for their poetic largesse.


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