A Man of 1974

Take-off was perfect. He stares out of his
Window at the heartland’s visionary

Rivers and mountains drifting beneath him;
Here are the seasons of misinformation,

The green words harvested and stored in silos,
The voices on tape that can be reduced to a whisper

Or silenced completely, whenever he wishes.
Rewound, played back, they recreate

Kaleidoscopic scenarios of loss and betrayal,
A world collapsing into loops of endless,

Pointless conversations, the relentless
Dripping of acid onto printed circuits,

The shrill squealing of rats in the granaries
Gorged on the uneasy crumbs of language…

He settles back. Ahead lies San Clemente’s
Longed-for refuge of tastefully shopworn shorefront property,

Flush with the electric stain of azaleas in springtime
And the heady reek of ozone in summer.

Soon the landing, soon the men moving into position
To keep the borders of his reticence.

In slow motion a silent flotilla
Of orange golf carts sweeps a crew-cut lawn.

Charles Martin

Charles Martin

Charles Martin’s most recent books of poems are Signs & Wonders, and Future Perfect, both published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. He is a recipient of the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Charles Martin

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Author: Charles Martin

Charles Martin’s most recent books of poems are Signs & Wonders, and Future Perfect, both published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. He is a recipient of the Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.