Returning to Montauk

 

there is a final fog,
smelling like an old sock,
rolling in from an undisclosed location.

four illusions, or three, or two,
now covered, now gone,
in the choke.

where there used to be ships
on the water,
there is the gray miasma.

you can only live with yourself
when the moon is shining –
how odd.

you would think this cover
were made for the ugly,
that it would feed you

like clear oxygen,
like the honey of Hybla.
but no.

flies on shit
make better progress.
the fog comes for a reason.

cold, so cold and ancient,
the way the lighthouse
goes out in the smoke.

4 comments

  1. Mark,

    I read your poem and felt despair, and thought ‘Wasteland”.

    (I’m still reading and rereading Eliot’s long poem…trying to figure what Pound wrote/rewrote
    and what Eliot wrote…) but back to your poem…

    I ‘googled’ Montauk because I didn’t know of it until I read your poem.
    Am curious as to what causes the pollution there… It sounds awful but
    when I read of it I found a request for funding …

    “The annual cost of just lighting the Lighthouse for the holiday season is about $50,000. Our first responsibility is to the care and upkeep of “The Light”.”

    I note there is also a state park by the same name, same area. The poem could be all metaphor, a souring of
    old memories or it could be a literal view of something that has fallen to disrepair. The poetry evokes a strong reaction, no matter the story behind it.

    sarah

    Like

  2. Hi Mark

    I think you draw the reader right in with those stunning first lines

    there is a final fog,
    smelling like an old sock,
    rolling in from an undisclosed location.

    four illusions, or three, or two,
    now covered, now gone,
    in the choke.

    almost like the fog tempts the viewer to come back with a musty sense of disturbance. It;s memory rolling in cold and clammy with its haze and illusions only to dissipate into stark truth. The reader can both feel and smell the uneasiness. I feel this poem captures the ruins of the landmark and its environment due to elemental conditions as well as human neglect, maybe ignorance. But on a deeper scale, it might also suggest the disillusionment of mind/ soul, the effects experience has on the person who has been challenged
    by its adversity and disappointments. Whatever, the intent, it haunts the reader in a very intense way as fine poetry should.

    Enjoyed reading this,
    my best
    Wendy

    Like

  3. Powerful work.
    The writing brings out a feeling/instinct of disappointment
    from deep within the gut of the reader.

    Very much enjoyed reading.
    Kerri

    Like

  4. MSS

    I imagine you reading it, completing the atmospherics of it all. There’s almost nothing left to say about your poetry when it peaks like this…

    …except that, right now, it’s full of more foreboding than I would like 🙂

    Abracos, irmao.

    MAH

    Like

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