Three Poems by Owen Lucas


There is in rain an intimation
Of my ancestral island :

The long generations of men
Who slogged through damp

Into the dark of their hillside,
And, when evening came, back

Into the dark of the home,
At no time expecting

That its falling would ever end,
Or their condition

Of servitude offer more than
Dull imaginings of bread,

Dull imaginings of sound sleep.
In my twenty-fifth year

Or in my twenty-sixth, I may
Fly home to the isles,

Finding the same arrangement
Of stolid structures

In their adopted positions,
And persist in slow digestion

What otherwise is consumed.
In all likelihood,

The rain will continue to fall
As the years from our parting.






“São Paulo sinks into Chaos”!
          —What corollary of
The directors of the public
          Transport board falling
Into irredeemable frivolity,
          Oh!—and of the breach
Of contract of forty animated
          Creatures at the
Gate of the amusement park?
“Whatever, whatevero,” sings
          The pauper
With the bow of yellow velvet,
          Ratcheting upon
His viola, proud in his swarth.

They planned a tournament,
          And the lovelies
Of the slums were meant to
          Angle their bodies out
Along the broad avenues,
          And the circumference
Of the city dash with glamour.
          But the transport
Workers are burning it all up,
          And there are
Many hundreds of police
          Out in the street, sent
Against the fire in uniform.
          It is of some doubt
Whether the violence will end
          In a manner to
Jolly the business consortium.
          “Can't you tell
My heart is breaking?” flirts
          The cantor, clutching
Blue ribbons to his shirtfront.





He will not be instructed,
And feels somehow
Invincible, though he spent
The last half an hour
Walking out to the road as
The sun was rising
And coming back in to us
Where we were sitting
Around the kitchen table,
With tears running
Down his face and a soggy
Cigarette between
His fingers. He feels as if
A power were running
Through him in every part,
Consisting in the romance
Of the situation
And in the sunlight blasting
Out over the tree line.

It is so that I have to wrestle
Him bodily into a chair
When he falls at the front
Of the house between our
Unremarkable gateposts,
Or he'll hurt himself, paying
No attention.
That is too much wine and
Not enough
Of one he ridiculously loves.




Owen Lucas is a British writer living in Norwalk, Connecticut. His poetry, fiction and translations have been published in more than thirty journals in the U.S., Britain, and Canada. Past credits include Off the Coast, Lost in Thought, Contemporary Verse 2, and Qwerty.