Sunday, May 14, 2017

Jack Scott writes

The Alien Fleet of Feet

On a sluggish morning 

sluggish feet on sidewalks 
cannot compete with joggers, 
alien fleet of feet 
whose engines purr on starting 
like models of the newest cars.

No rest for the jealous, 

but taken anyway. 
I’ll stay sleeping in 
while the rest are stepping out.

I, too, have business to attend 

like when will the toast be done 
and where’s the marmalade. 
You know how I like my coffee, 
we’ve been through this before. 
I like to wake up softly, 
gradually build tolerance 
to face the goddamned day.

Yes, I know I have to get a job. 

Yes, it’s your job to remind me. 
But this business of staying home
is natural and satisfying, 
textured like an unironed sheet,
its best dreams still in it. 

Outside my urban castle 

when the tide has ebbed away 
I venture to the front stoop 
steaming coffee in one hand, 
smoking cigarette in the other,
all’s well now with the world.

Presently a radio rapes the air 

turning morning silence 
into cacophony of crap, 
the musiclessness of rap.  
I remove my hearing aids 
and entertain the thought of nap, 
a logical escape 
if that goddamned beat 
doesn’t twang the bedsprings. 
I’m not allowed to smoke inside 
under threat of penalty, cruel 
and also conjugal, the lack thereof. 
As nose she has a smoke detector.

What shall I do with this day? 

I don’t want to sleep my life away. 
I’ll read and maybe write 
and be thankful for what I’ve got
and also what I’ve not.

The others, (Them!) (Those!), 

the ones who work from nine to five 
and wear suits and ties, 
that merchant fleet upon the fiscal sea 
who riffle Fortune’s pages, 
while playing real Monopoly, 
when time has come for them 
to shift their weight upon the other leg 
they set sail for home upon the evening tide 
upon the mixed ship Metaphor.

The tidal current of commerce 

that swelled our street in morning 
now flows the other way. 
At first it trickles like incontinence,
then becomes a sluggish stream 
straining for momentum 
to break loose in torrents, 
but floods with horns instead, 
raucous shouts, rote obscenity, 
for some, sulking, stewing silence, 
all slowed to the speed of clams. 
Have they forgotten yesterday?

Once they’ve parked their cars 

footfalls follow home their feet, 
all echoes being equal, 
the daily homeless who have nests, 
now nightly drag themselves to them, 
home heavy with relief 
and sense of underpaid deserving 
(satisfaction is a random perk) 
bringing bacon and its gravy, 
mutely mad, never daring 
to bare an honest tongue.

Honey, you’re home. Would you like a martini?

Bolton Street fills up once more 

with liquid anxiety galore.

We also serve who stay at home.

Fireflies with folded wings count down 

until it’s safe to say good night.

Look, dear, at what I’ve written. 

How was your day?

 Marmalade Spread
Marmalade Skies --Sarah Ross Thompson


  1. Henry Luce wanted to publish a business magazine called "Power," but his business partner Briton Hadden was not enthusiastic about the idea. Hadden and Luce had been Yale classmates; Luce had been the managing editor at the "Yale Daily News" while Hadden had been the paper's chairman. During a school break they began seriously discussing the idea of creating a magazine that would condense all the news of the week into a brief and easily readable "digest." After graduating they found journalistic jobs, then mutually joined the "Baltimore News," where they spent their nights working on the idea of a news magazine, which they planned to call "Facts." In 1923 they founded "Time." Hadden and Luce served alternating years as the new company's president, but Hadden was the editor for 4 1/2 of the magazine's first six years and, as, the inventor of its revolutionary writing style known as Timestyle, was considered its "presiding genius." After a brief stint in Cleveland, Ohio, the magazine moved back to New York in 1927 and was located for a while in the same building as "The New Yorker," edited by Harold Ross. Hadden and Ross were regarded as the two greatest American magazine editors of the 1920s. Hadden was not enthusiastic about Luce's idea about founding a business magazine to be called "Power," but Hadden died at 31 in Fenruary 1929. Luce took Hadden's name off the "Time" masthead within two weeks of his death. Hadden's will left all of his stock in Time Inc. to his mother and forbade his family from selling those shares for 49 years, but within a year of his death Luce formed a syndicate which succeeded in getting possession of Hadden's stock. He also acquired control of Hadden's papers and kept them at Time Inc., where no one outside the company was allowed to view them as long as Luce lived. In late October 1929 the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred, marking the onset of the Great Depression, and "Fortune" made its official debut in February 1930. By 1937, the number of subscribers had grown to 460,000, and the magazine had turned half million dollars in annual profit. During the Great Depression the magazine developed a reputation for Walker Evans' and Margaret Bourke-White's color photographs and for a team of writers including James Agee, Archibald MacLeish, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Alfred Kazin, hired specifically for their writing abilities. Luce went on to launch "Life" in 1936 and "Sports Illustrated "in 1954.

  2. A monopoly, from the Greek "monos " (alone or single) and "polein" (to sell), exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. (A monopsony relates to a single entity's control of a market to purchase a good ; an oligopoly is a few sellers dominating a market). "Monopoly" is a board game developed by Charles Darrow and published by Parker Brothers in 1935; players move around the game-board buying, trading, or selling properties, developing them with houses and hotels, and collecting rent from their opponents, with the goal being to drive them all into bankruptcy, leaving one monopolist in control of the economy.
    Bolton Street is in Baltimore, Maryland, where the poet lives. It is part of an area known as Bolton Hill, a largely residential neighborhood with three-story row houses with red brick, white marble steps, and high ceilings, mostly preserved buildings from the late 19th century. In addition to Jack Scott, other significant residents have included F. Scott Fitzgerald and Woodrow Wilson. Bolton Hill was named after the estate of George Grundy, who named his estate house after Bolton le Moors. Around 1850 the area began to transition to traditional baltimore row houses. Before the advent of real estate speculation and planned developments, many homes were attached to form rows. But a "rowhouse" describes a large group of similar homes built at the same time by the same builder. Unlike the north-south grid of most Baltimore neighborhoods, Bolton Hill was built along a diagonal street grid, constructed by Thomas Poppleton. Baltimore has more rowhouses than any other city in the United States, and the proliferation of these dwelling made Baltimore a city of homeowners. In the late 19th century, 70% of the city's population owned their own homes. Unlike other prominent neighborhoods in Baltimore at the end of the 19th century, Bolton Hill had no restrictive covenants against African-Americans, Jews, or Asians, and many servants for the wealthy Bolton Hill residents lived in the alley houses of Bolton Hill. At the beginning of the 20th century, white residents began moving out.


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