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de Weever coverThis book is Brett Rutherford's farewell to his adopted city, Providence, where he lived most of the years between 1985 and 2015, with intervals away at Boston, New York, and Northern New Jersey. It is also his farewell to H.P.Lovecraft fandom, with two biting poems, "The Special Ward at Butler Hospital" and "On the Island of Pohnpei," the latter about a sinister hookah bar in the South Pacific that becomes the center of Lovecraft tourism. This small but lethal book also contains two powerful narrative poems about women at two ends of the power spectrum: a schoolgirl in colonial New England falls prey to a vicious schoolmaster in "Hoxie House," while "Young Girl's Prayer to Eos, At Corinth" is a whole new twist on the power some women have for magic and revenge, if they choose to use it. "What She Was Like" is a Hitchcockian mother portrait from Pennsylvania that could just as well have come from Salem. Translations and adaptations in this slender volume include four poems adapted from the Chinese poet Li Yu, doomed last Emperor of Southern Tang, and an adaptation of Pushkin's supernatural poem, "The Demons." The title poem is an attempt to enter into the psyche and society of those extinct masters of the world, the Trilobites. These new poems and revisions are from 2013-2014.


Behind a freshman couple
on the first day of classes:
Well, if anybody bothers us,
there can always be an accident.

On Thayer Street, behind a girl
who has drawn with ball-point pen
fake track marks on both her arms:
Once, I drank rubbing alcohol.

Heard on my doorstep
through the closed door:
I’m just going to rob and rob
until somebody stops me.

At Eddie’s Diner, amid a lull
in table talk, one voice
of four Italian businessmen:
So who’s gonna do this —
your hit man or mine?

*** ***


A year since last I saw you. No: a year and a day.
The round red sun struck an octave falling,
rung out the interval as turning earth
returned to the self-same place in its orbit:
and what should happen, but nothing at all.
Nothing, or rather, another day void
to add to a year of days without you,
the same fields dressed up in the same green trees,
the same indifferent sky accepting bursts
of egomaniacal seedpods
attempting escape velocity.

During the year, I fled the quotidian,
twisting with maple propellers,
out and upward to the highest cirrus.
I sought the place of your waiting
somewhere in orbit beneath the Dog Star.
All too soon I fell, repelled
by a single graze of your cheekbones.

I thought the sun, unbent by atmosphere,
would melt your cold heart;
the rain that came
we mistook for a sign of advent —
o roots, o tendrils, o new shoots twining,
abandoned as abruptly
to summer’s drought,
to hoarfrost cold,
and now, to this barren anniversary.

Each height I sought
you had already abandoned.
Each bloom thrust up —
whether the frail violet
or the tight-fisted peony,
beautiful to me only
in some resemblance, passing,
to some aspect of you —
fell petal by petal to cindered ash.
Earth’s autumn hecatombs
were burned in vain at your altar.

I know you were always there,
just one horizon beyond me,
hurrying on, pursued, and pursuing
(I dread to name whom or what!)
Must I follow you to desert rim,
to the unforgiving edge of the glacier,
to the Mer de Glace where Monster
and Maker (for what else are lover
and beloved?) meet once,
soliloquize and part, sworn enemies?

For a year and a day you have fled me —
(Ah! it is a year and a day, times thirty now!) —
and still the secret lives, as flowers shriek
in fields the winds italicize with longing,
in wan birch forests that topple and fall
at your departing slant. The secret lives;
the long count of calendar days resumes,
and we (myself and all things living)
tread on in quest of that one contrary wind
that would be harbinger of your return.
I will not die waiting, but you will wait
’til your own death to plumb regret’s full sea.
Green things will bloom, mute, melancholic, doomed,
beneath a kettle of iron-gray storm-clouds.
Life will go on somehow, though gods are fled
and I, of words and love, am but a ghost.

ISBN 978-0922558766. The 209th publication of The Poet's Press. 6 x 9 inches, paperback, 56 pages. $8.95. To order from Amazon, CLICK HERE.

Or, CLICK HERE to purchase the PDF e-book for $2.00 from Payhip.


Version 24. Updated February 24, 2024.

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Joel Allegretti

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Robert Carothers

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Richard Davidson

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Emilie Glen

Emily Greco

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Heinrich Heine

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Michael Katz

Li Yu

Richard Lyman

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David Messineo

Th. Metzger

J Rutherford Moss

John Burnett Payne

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Suzanne Post

Shirley Powell

Burt Rashbaum

Ernst Raupach

Susanna Rich

Brett Rutherford

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Charles Sorley

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Ludwig Tieck

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