Two Poems by Brent Hendricks

BOMB 64 Summer 1998
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Four of Clubs

What I’ve forgotten could fill an
ocean. What I’ve believed could fill a
sea.
But between alliances
I lounge among marble,
where a contingent of leaves bleeds
gold in a fashion, clashing with red.
And some end the season green on green
foregrounding forever what the background seems.
Which presents me. Who for weeks now, building site on
site, has followed a deck of cards through this ancient park—
wind scattering numbers and color into leaves, spreading faces.
To which the story with a tale tells me to believe
the players left suddenly, scene by scene. And so I
measure, under similar duress, each day against the days—
fastening my luck to the first card found.
This morning I stepped over a six of hearts,
of little guidance, and sort of in-between
                                           I rested among the statues,
then moved into the park and my work on the trees.


Four of Spades

It’s tomorrow I suppose, I can tell without dreaming.
But for weeks now I’ve wandered
inside, trapped in this green like a stupid thought.
Outside the children glide patterns over water
at least I think I hear them scraping their names.
And once upon a time I lived happily ever after
till the game we played lost its way … deeply discarded.
Now the tree’s the whole scene and the clock’s in its tower,
now the cold blows through me with the stillness of bones.
Green and evergreen is how the color enchained us,
made the lover a mirror and the lovely unobtained—
… I’m tired. What was once only decorative
says sticks and stones,—I’m so metaphoric I’m locked alone—

                                              *

              there are no righteous wars in the Spring and Au-
                                           tumn
that is, perfectly right on one side or the other
total right on either side of the battle line

                                          —Pound, The Cantos, LXXXII

Brent Hendricks’s serial work, Thaumatrope, was a finalist in the 1997 National Poetry Series. Poems from the collection have appeared or are forthcoming in Brooklyn Review, Conjunctions,First Intensity, Kiosk, The Little Magazine, and Situation.

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Originally published in

BOMB 64, Summer 1998

Featuring interviews with Tracey Moffatt, Aharon Appelfeld, Eric Kraft, Maurice Berger, Patricia Williams, Richard Powers, Stellan Skarsgard, Jesus “Chucho” Valdes, and Lou Reed. 

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