Untitled Country Review (ISSN 2152-7903), published quarterly during 2010-2013, features poetry, book reviews, photography, and short works of non-fiction. Thank you for visiting.

Issue 6: Robert Lietz

by Paula Lietz

The Understanding

     What     if there'd been     no railroad     / radio     -- and
would not     -- for a long time     -- be     -- no     tarmac    
     maybe     / or     strip-mine      a half-mile     walk     uphill    
through thorn-tangles     -- where   
     the capguns     cracked     -- and     crabapple     arsenals    
taught     bad kids     what     kids could --
     what     would     the same words     seem     -- played down    
to     scarcely     measureable     proportions     -- or   
     the children seem     -- who would grow up     -- afterward
and     well     -- and     leave us     ( I suppose )    
     what     wishing     now     -- as     easily     ruled     / ruled     out --
as     easily lost     maybe     -- as     block-dances     were    
     and     summer     socials    -- as     old     occasions     were --
for     public music     and     odd costumes     -- when
     the disgust     itself     / the village-wide     fatigue     assumed
the stairs     and     wreaths     and     ribbons     / the scripts    
     and     instruction manuals     -- and the square itself     -- where    
one lopped thing stands     -- the acres     where set flames    
     or dozers     feed themselves     -- on skeletal trees and stumps --
where      once     they     shaded     families?   Even   
     the mind clears out     -- after     twenty     say     / thirty years
remembering.  And     grandeur     the cruel outdoors     
     exaggerates     / plays down      -- to     say     what     a poplar    
meant     -- or     groomings     made the planet     -- this
     poplar say     -- dropped headlong     into skinned water     -- but    
greening     / greening still     -- after     the cousins     / aunts    
     / after     the uncles     say     and    the oldest spooks     dance
their unwindings     -- while wilder     and     scarier dozens    
     doze     and     flame     and     redevelop     -- since     spectacle    
must     count     -- since     leather     must count     -- and
     mission     pine     -- initials     reminiscent     of hill causes --
since     all they had said     of     pleasure then    
     or of awaiting     -- of avoiding monasteries     -- overbooked    
with     penitents      or     outlaws     in disguises     -- must    
     ( after all )    seem     belliesful     -- when     we have asked    
what gives     / examined     the last cliches    
     and the old name-plates     --  having practiced     we thought    
to speak     the names     and    origins     and     textures --
     which     must have mattered     once     -- when the wines   
( varietal )     -- and     the goat cheeses   
     / the stone roads     -- reminiscent     of     the tastings    
and     lawn-bowling     -- left us   
     the wonder     and     the understanding     
          nature of.

Robert Lietz has over 700 poems in more than one hundred journals in the U.S. and Canada, in Sweden and U.K, including Agni Review, Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, Epoch, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, The Ontario Review, Poetry, and Shenandoah. Seven collections of poems have been published, including Running in Place (L’Epervier Press,). At Park and East Division ( L’Epervier Press,) The Lindbergh Half-century (L’Epervier Press,) The Inheritance (Sandhills Press,) and Storm Service (Basfal Books). Basfal also published After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems.

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