At The High Window we are pleased to share the Guardian‘s current ‘Poem of the Week’, which features a poem by the American poet and editor, Philip Fried. Philip was previously included in our anthology Four American Poets, edited by Anthony Costello (September 2016) and he was our Featured American Poet on September 1, 2016. He is also the editor of The Manhattan Review , one of the most consistently excellent US poetry journals.
Finally, if having read the poem and Carol Rumens essay, you would like to read more of Philip’s work, here is a link to his latest collection, Squaring the Circle, which is published by Salmon Press and reviewed here in the current issue of The High Window by Jonathan Timbers.
Philip Fried: A Poem from Squaring the Circle
Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts?
—Book of Job
Take a seat. All you need to know is, I am
The DA, judge, and jury in one, a justice
System. I investigate even nano-whispers
Of complaint about providing prey to raptors,
And I’ll say, though it hardly needs to be said, I’m invested
With breathtaking powers, etc.
Why did you flee into the wilderness
Of your cerebrum? Nevermind. Every obscure
Clearing can be accessed by divine
Megaphone and floodlit by the Logos.
How did we track you? I hear it all, every bit
Of the planet’s chatter. News and newsleaks, sexting,
Conspiracies, the wind colluding with leaves.
I am sui generis and omni-aural
As well as omniscient and omnipotent.
And you’ve become a person of interest, a notable.
Right to remain silent? We’re not a procedural!
Of course. You can make more than one call. Reach out.
But would even a mafia mouthpiece dare to plead
For a human speck in the Court of the Absolute?
Where were you at the time of the classified
Incident? Don’t tell me you were just doodling
With syntax. You devised a silent soliloquy
Of feeble, sulky dissent. Your speech, from a tangle
Of neurons, flowered into orchids like justice,
Or nettles like motherfucker. But the mind
Is a leased wilderness, whose excitable cells
Can be tapped.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxHere’s the plea deal, you’ll act as my witness:
Rehearse the authorized narrative, rescind
Your complaint, endorse my initiative to feed
The raptor, and bow to my superior terror.
I want to know everything I already know.
Stand up. Begin with the voice from the whirlwind …