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  Three Poems by Alec Kowalczyk

EXCIDE

When the solitary willow tree
was finally favored with a companion,
in the form of an ugly timber utility pole,
out along the roadside of a desolate moorland,
the willow ridiculed the timber's sorrowful state.
How could it compare with her (the willow),
being defrocked of leaves, limbs and its very bark-skin,
reeking of the creosote that it perspired.

Yet the willow grew fond of the utility pole,
and the utility pole never lost its initial infatuation
by the sheer beauty of the willow in full bloom.

The willow swayed gracefully with the wind,
daring to allow its leaves to be caressed
by the power lines spanning the pole,
until one day a passing lineman noted this.
He foresaw potential problems of limbs ensnared in wire,
ordered the willow removed at once,
whence it was immediately reduced to roughly sawn logs,
abandoned alongside the moorland road,
burned for a campfire by the occasional passerby,
reduced repeatedly to slight ash,
scattered to the winds,
until the utility pole didn't recollect there being a tree at all,
there being no visible trees around the entire horizon.

 

IRONCLAD

before it moved
it first flexed its feelers
and then the world's first beetle
began the longest passage
roaming across the newly formed
shifting planet

it trudged through the steaming forests
while more of the dwindling molten earth
gradually slipped beneath the increasing
level of the seas

it passed beneath a swooping pterodactyl
and was shaken by the last footfalls
of the vanishing dinosaur

it treaded underfoot
between the stride of the nomadic beast
the one who walked upright
pointed stick in hand

it crossed the path
of cyclonic stagecoaches
fleeting steam locomotives
and the prolific automobile

it marched firmly forward
against the blazing fusillade
of the first great world war

its exo-armor glistened
in the light of the first
atom bomb explosion

it advanced steadfastly
despite the depletion of the rain forests
despite the fence and zoning of once open land

and in all the millions of years it traveled
it never changed on the inside or out.

 

THE PHOTOGRAPHER

of the myriad of objects
crammed into the scenery
he moves in on one particular setting
selecting a focal length lens best to accomplish it
framing out all superfluous detail
isolating this singular composition
from the rest of the universe
modifying the ambient sunlight
filtering it through an intervening sheet of muslin
irising open the lens to deliberately soften foreground features
   cropping the image more critically during the final printing
    and burning the image to bring out and suppress tonalities
so that for one graphic moment
if he is truly successful
the spectator will view the world
as seen through his eyes




Alec Kowalczyk is a native of South Troy, New York. He is a civil engineer by day with an interest in the mechanics of poetry.

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