Three Poems by Albert Katz

soft cartel april 2018

frozen in time

despite what neuroscientists tell us
there is no map
amongst the sulci and gyri

to that place

where we play
you and I
winded around
as coiled roots

forever balanced
at the precipice

waiting for the fall

Confessions of the poet (the Ghetto- Venice, Italy)

What confessions are revealed
over coffee in lesser holy places
what inspirations emerge
when maths turns to music

what lost dreams of wandering
of burning like a Roman candle
a brief but brilliant life
a vagabond alchemist

what longings
what urges

a master of the art he tries
to seduce with the plumage of his wit

Leaning forward he whispers
That writers’ block
Is the price he pays
for abstinence and piety

she understands

but rejects the role
of muse

Can he shed the mask
tell her honestly
that in search of love he
leaves the ghetto

that when free of the barrier
he sews his foreskin back on again

that though awakening beside her might be sweet
it is in these alleys alone
the echo of the shofar
fills the void
anchors him

liberates words

Reminiscences on finding a faded photograph

You looked straight at the camera
head slightly tilted
wide smile

though together almost two years
you never wanted me
to pick you up
at your parent’s house
because
as you told me
you were concerned
that they would think I was not good enough
for their little girl

which led me to think
maybe you too had your doubts

coward that I was
I never asked you
if that too was your concern
or told you
that you were chubbier
than I preferred

or that when you smiled
the world brightened around me

I did tell you once
that asleep
you looked like an angel in rapture

and when you said “really”?
I said “yes”

I did not lie.

and you rewarded me
with a smile

Albert Katz has been a professor of cognitive psychology for over 40 years and is now on the cusp of retiring. In his undergraduate days he had aspirations to be a poet, gave readings in coffee houses and published some poems in long defunct small literary journals. He found it increasingly harder to write poetry once he started graduate work and through most of his academic, career, publishing extensively instead in scientific journals. He has been married (and divorced) twice, has three children, two of whom have published themselves. As retirement started to loom, he found that his poetic voice started to reappear, after almost 50 years dormant. Over the last two years he has published  (or have poems accepted for publication) in Poetry Quarterly, Three Line Poetry, Inwood Indiana, Ariel March and, most recently, Pangolin Review.

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