Fred Pollack

the man without qualities by fred pollack

The Man Without Qualities

Somewhere in modernism, characters take
rebellion one step further: not merely
disobeying plot or mocking
the author … “There’s this sphere
of desire, I don’t know for whom or what,”
says a girl. “I’d call it ‘fiery’
if I had any intention
of jumping in. Which I don’t.” “I was meant
to be unsure of everything,” says
a youth who has changed their ambiguous
outfit for something preppie. 
“I prefer not to.” “With effort” 
(from the shadows a gravelly bass) “I 
draw farther and farther
from the noise and violence I was to inherit.
Whether that of the Mob, rock music, or
the plutocracy isn’t clear, but I prefer
quiet.” And a voice
that has not shed professorial grunge 
or a labcoat muses: “It’s like dementia,
but without loss of lucidity.” “I’m curious, 
though,” says the girl. “About the setting. 
This otherwise uninhabited,
official, yet very pleasant building.”
“It represents” (comes an imposing voice)
“some wish for democratic socialism –
people shouldn’t be afraid of the State. 
When they are, all personalities are distorted.”
“That whole way of thinking makes me …
uncomfortable,” yawns someone.

FRED POLLACK is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure (Red Hen Press, 2022) and Happiness (Story Line Press) as well as two collections of shorter poems, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Pollack has appeared in Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Magma (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, Chiron Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, etc. Online, his poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Rat’s Ass Review,  Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc.

© Maximus Magazine 2022

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