Poems by Clark Holtzman


says nothing about the quality of your offer.
My acceptance is sacred in this faithless sort of way.
My acceptance builds upon many lesser options
that, in any event, have minds of their own.

My acceptance regards you like a god
who knows the awful truth of itself.
My acceptance dogs you forever and a day.

My acceptance, knowing no bounds,
makes no sense.  My acceptance is insensible.
No matter what you saw or heard,
my acceptance says nothing about your offer.

My acceptance regards you like a dream,
but about the offering, it’s a strange and unnamable mojo
from which, I pray, we shall one day awaken and go.


Your omega makes no sense
If your alpha fails to materialize
And in fact, if I may be so bold, never
Is a part of the conversation.

We pour ourselves another glass,
Strike striking poses at the mantle,
And improvise with professions
Of undying love, eternal friendship.

But we don’t talk about ends
Or endings or end-stops
Or endlessness or even The End,
Though I am told mine is coming.

It wrote me a letter last week,
Says it’s thinking of paying a visit.


I keep it on a shelf so high I need a step ladder
to retrieve it for the after-parties, when
it’s fun to introduce into the boozy chit-chat.
Inevitably, one gin-soaked hanger-on or
another takes things a bridge too far
and there I am in the pantry, wobbly myself
on an upper rung, rummaging through
disused greenglass, old salt shakers,
abandoned false teeth, for that familiar touch,
cold and . . . well . . . forbearing, like gunmetal.


At this speed, anything was possible,
even a fair hearing, and the more the screaming
and prayers subsided, the pleading, too,
the more certain I was that I’d get mine,
just as the guidebook predicted,
for we had crossed a state,
a line in the sand, my kind of Rubicon.

The trooper behind us holstered a speed gun,
waving good-bye from his side of the law.
He had mouths to feed and mortgages,
other lives to bedevil, so skidded off
in a spray of gravel and wise acknowledgement.

As for us—the children, the dog, hysterical auntie,
even you, my love—what a time we were having bumping along
the cliff-edge of this new kind of happiness, error-free
and hardly a care in the world.

Less hesitation, I said, more recklessness,
and removed my other hand from the wheel.


About the Author
Clark Holtzman lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Thanks to 2River View, Antiphon (UK), The Madras Mag (India), One, Verse-Virtual, West Trade Review, and The North American Review for recent or forthcoming publications of poems by the author.  The poems submitted are part of a manuscript titled “Selfiedom.”