Image: Konstantin Yuon – New Planet (1921)
Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness (Story Line Press), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many of his other poems have appeared in print and online journals.
Question of Friendliness
I saw them at one point. Not up close.
Farther than Andromeda.
Heavier than us, thicker,
slower, grey. I don’t think they had desks,
and there was something odd about the light.
Long squat stone housing blocks, unspecifiably
ornate exteriors, balconies but
small windows. There had been wars
but only two or three, which they brooded about.
Their art was talismans, life-relics,
not on walls; I don’t know if these
were buried with them, or if they were buried.
They would have been outraged to learn
that my describing them could be
described as self-indulgent; but like any
anger of theirs, it would have spiraled
inward and dissolved in mental humus.
No one, moreover, even in the sky,
appeared to be in charge. It was like
the East Germany romantically imagined
by Bloch. And of course,
apart from never being, they’re dead
or changed for thousands or millions
of years, like any image of the stars.