----- Original Message -----
From: "Frederick Pollack" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2001 5:51 PM
Subject: "The Angel" to p-list
> I think, just to liven things up a bit, I'll show a recent poem. It's
> about the self and such-like crap.
> The Angel
> In that city, the police
> are magically proactive
> in the matter of domestic abuse. So that when
> a suspect abandons
> his and his alleged victim's
> yelling to answer the door, and sets
> his sweating face in the put-upon
> virtue or haplessness
> that served in the past, he finds only
> observant sternness
> above the entering uniforms.
> Who do they think they are?
> They are of the same social class
> as I, he thinks (if they are), or,
> if he is higher, expects
> respect. But behind the policemen come
> impassive, hilarious, censorious neighbors.
> If the scene is underclass,
> the suspect half-expects them;
> if a mansion or Mcmansion,
> the cops will have brought an improvised
> community. The procedure
> is drawn from some underclass countries,
> shame-cultures indifferent to privacy. Now
> the cops approach the victim
> who depending on status sobs
> and tries to hide her bruises or,
> half-rising from bloody rubbish, flaunts them
> and screams, "Take that fucker away!"
> In either case the gentle address
> is the same: "It's only going to get worse, ma'am .
> we're taking him away."
> If, however, the perp
> in custody wasn't a beater,
> or even a very effective
> stalker, or drawn by specific jealousy
> to defy with threats and pounding
> the restraining order
> but only by the belief
> that he can't live without her
> (or them) - that her leaving
> will literally kill him - he
> sits on a steel chair
> beyond a steel table
> till his breathing slows
> and the room registers.
> And the affect of the detective
> who enters is neither
> bad cop nor good cop,
> shrink, priest, or father;
> rather grey, disarming,
> yet new and alarming.
> If the perp must still discharge
> obscenity, bluster,
> claims of incomprehension,
> or nonsense about a lawyer,
> the cop waits it out
> and only then speaks:
> "Whether or not you can live
> without her isn't the question.
> What can't be forgiven
> (and why you must do time)
> is that you never signed
> a bond with your death
> to underwrite affection.
> No heart secure
> in that contract is easily broken."
> The voice, so at one
> with the hum of the precinct, seems
> barely to have spoken
> yet the accused impossibly seeks a self to adopt;
> where now is manliness
> without apathy, anger,
> or even meekness?