Notes of a Prototype

Notes of a Prototype



My gesture is the same in each case:

the left hand, relaxed, palm up,

lightly placed on the bare grey table, thirty

degrees and centimeters from my robes;

then, after some interval, the right.

Thereby, whatever universe

of discourse has been opened is divided,

and the choice, i.e., the way forward,

is clear. Adultery or drinking

must stop, forgiveness be asked or applied,

etc. Depending on the subject,

I am wise and white-haired, young and earnest,

white or black, male or female;

selection is instantaneous, based

on data scanned before they enter.

I see (so to speak) their faces,

degree of superficiality, vanity,

real concern. But I think

the watching crowds behind the soundproof glass

(set tastefully into an ancient arch),

seeing me, my gesture, and especially

the changing posture of subjects,

benefit as much as they.


On the stone wall opposite my wall hangs

the result of an interaction

with several systems and hierarchies:

in appearance an Old Master,

with a signature that can be checked.

In a chiaroscuro vortex,

a glittering knight, his sword laid by,

improbably well-fed shepherds,

a robed but humbled noble, and obscurely

proud peasants of both sexes crouch

or kneel before a light-source,

invisible to the viewer,

which catches their wondering faces.

My employers have given it

some anodyne title. Privately,

I call it The Adoration of the Crystal.


Frederick Pollack


Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both Story Line Press; the former to be reissued 2022 by Red Hen Press. 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, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Rat’s Ass Review,  Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Ariel Chart (2019, 2021), etc.

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