January 31, 2023

Save the Net Books

Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

Maureen McLane: Choice of the week [ed. Terence Winch]

Photo by Laura M. Slatkin, 2016 Paris

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Belfast

Your velvet hills came to me

last night at the pool

as they embraced the bustling city

the pubs filled and buzzed

which Europa has now been unbombed for years.

Their political murals are kitschy

and history is a ditch

to lie if we let it

the gravediggers

call us. let’s bury

our pseudonyms

all unreleased.

Was Scarlett O’Hara’s father

a blustering man from Ulster

or was he a farmer

like Grandpa from Wicklow

tender and tender amidst the turmoil

and kind to his slaves

but for the obvious?

White people are weird

with their vitamin D

and sun damaged skin.

So far from an equator

It’s hard to walk the line

in a divided world.

Orange, green, navy blue

The colors are weapons

as well as some horses

in the 19th century.

Freed from machines

see them race

on brittle ankles—

Beauty a late bloom

of non-use. your shop windows

were climbed, your university

Victorian, the linen district

deceased. The solid brick

that protects us undisturbed

smashed a window.

Your sky hung low your beer

rode up your visiting Freemasons

sober and punctual.

A Days Inn here

is a Days Inn everywhere

but for the protesters who gather

the gaud of their bands at odds

with their sunken, gaunt faces

closed like a handbag

at an old clock

that keeps the time

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Maureen N. McLane is a poet, memoirist, critic and educator. She has published seven volumes of poetry, including This Blue, a National Book Award finalist. She is also the author of an experimental mix of memoir and criticism (My Poets), two monographs on British Romantic poetics, and numerous essays on romantic and contemporary literature and culture. Her poems have been translated into Italian, French, Greek, Spanish and Czech. Her most recent book is More Anon: Selected Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021); her next book What You Want: Poesies will be published by FSG in spring 2023. She is the Henry James Professor of English and American Literature at New York University. [“Belfast” is from This Blue, FSG 2014]

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Maureen McLane: Choice of the week [ed. Terence Winch] Mural from Belfast