November 12, 2012, 6 P.M.
UConn Co-op Bookstore, 2075 Hillside Rd, Storrs, CT, Lewis Turco Poetry Reading.
THE LATE, LATE SHOW
It is now ten minutes after midnight,
December 5th, 1965. In honor
of the attack by the Japanese
on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on
December 7th, 1941, all channels
are running movies about war. On one
channel, the come-on is newsreel footage of the
bombing inserted into a film
made by the Japanese. Channel
9 has topped that: also Japanese, the movie is
science-fiction: the Third World War is just
beginning. I'll take a gangster film — Channel 3:
it sounds incredible, but the third
world war is already over
over here. This one is American. Let me check
the T. V. Guide: "'Five.' (1951).
The only five survivors of atomic war
revive man's ancient hostilities
and prejudices." The whole thing
is starting again. So I have turned to writing this
poem as I watch. I have survived one
Armageddon; I shall build a microcosm.
I am writing very carefully:
the woman is pregnant, and the
Negro is building a house. I want my facts to be
accurate, in case this is the last thing
to be left. The sounds do not matter, only the
sense. If you are reading this, I hope
that it will not upset you, sir,
whoever you are. It may be that my typewriter
was hocked, passed peacefully from dark shelf to
dark shelf in ancient shops until it was sold for
scrap. Grant us this: that was possible.
But if you should find this lying
rolled in my machine, the letters of our alphabet
scrambled in the dust, grant us this much more:
we foresaw the end too clearly for it to matter.
Lewis Turco, from
An Anthology of Connecticut Poetry Since 1776
Dennis Barone, ed.; Dick Allen, fwd.
Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco 1959-2007, Scottsdale, AZ: www.StarCloudPress.com, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932842-19-7, cloth; ISBN 978-1-932842-20-3, paper.