Two Poems by Fred Pollack and a Collage by Jen May



gray crystal jmay
Collage by Jen May



Few saw the painful scene,

but as staff led the perpetrator

away, the people in the restaurant

stared. They wanted to assure themselves

that their white ethnicity, round,

square, lumpy, borderline-brown,

or homogenized, was not his.

That their clothes

were not his, which were too rough,

too plaid, polyester, whatever

was wrong. Above all, that his eyes

and snarl could under no circumstances

be theirs, and that they were therefore safe

from evil or madness or

some worse, nameless thing.


His arms not actually held, he was

nonetheless being hustled, crowded

out. And as he yielded, under

patent though silent protest,

to this and began to walk,

he twirled a finger –

not at his temple, but over

his head, in a wide, articulated,

then narrowing spiral,

at the heavens beyond the tasteful lighting.



Old men, if they have any brains,

repress anger. For while

the anger of the young

serves life (at worst rearranging

its ugly features), that of the old

draws what energy it has

from death, and repays

with interest. Old women

regard old men’s anger,

like their bellies and hair, as

abstractly forgivable.

(Their own is like housework,

a thing somewhat apart.)

Quiet old people lean

back in their armchairs,

doze perhaps, perhaps

consider how anger

is one letter away

from angel. A misprint

could slip towards that word.


Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press.  His work has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), BateauChiron Review, etc.  Online, his poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, etc.  Recent Web publications include work in Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Camel SaloonKalkion, Gap Toothed Madness. He is an adjunct professor of creative writing at George Washington University.

Jen May is a Scorpio and artist living in Brooklyn, NY with 3 cats. She currently illustrates Madame Clairevoyant’s horoscopes for The Rumpus as well as the blog