PURSUING THE DREAM BONE
2007, Quale Press, Florence, MA.. 114 pages.
Although more personal than his other prose poem books, Pursuing the Dream Bone continues Marcus’s parable-like examination of the human condition in pieces that are alternately antic, whimsical, somber, and elegiac. The subjects range from ruminations on the Bible to reflections on the relationships between men and women, from the recording of strange fairy tales to contemplations of death, from remembrances of his mother and father to questionings of his own identity.
"Pursuing the Dream Bone is a new collection of prose poetry from revered poet Morton Marcus. Reflecting on everything from the mundane to the sacred, Marcus explores issues of family, identity, loss, and the simple joys of everyday life. His style—by turns witty, poignant, and compassionate—remains fresh and accessible." — Amazon.com
Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, #6
Poems from Pursuing the Dream Bone
WHERE ARE THEIR CHILDREN?
A boy falls from a ladder propped against the barn. What happens to the sons and daughters he never had?
A bachelor is taken hostage and shot; a teenage girl raped and strangled. Where are their children?
I sometimes think I was never born: my great-grandfather, a boy, one of the numberless people butchered in a nineteenth century pogrom; my great-great grandmother, a girl of ten, buried under the debris of an eighteenth century Balkan earthquake.
Then whose hand has written this page? Whose voices speak from the silence of books and make the bones of children flutter in unmarked graves?
Of all the secrets Eduardo Galeano knows, this is the best: “‘The important thing is to laugh. . . and to laugh together.’”
He was told this by Jose Luis Castro, a carpenter, who heard it from his father, a man who made everyone laugh with his tall tales and love of life.
The old man knew that the one who laughs alone laughs at his wife and neighbor, at the child who scrapes his knee in the gutter; laughs at the worker demonstrating for a better life and the banker suffering from toothache; laughs equally at the man with a country and the man without one, at the dwarf, the stutterer, the hemophiliac. For he is the one expunged from the Bible, who laughed in the Garden to see God on his knees breathing the breath of life into the clay figure.
WHEN SHE SLEPT
When she slept, she was a moonlit sea, she said. Her dreams were fish, splinters of light just under the surface. She never remembered them, but was aware of their nibbling, the brushing of their fins everywhere inside her.
When she would wake in the night, it was with a gasp, and she surged from the bedclothes, streaming sweat, disoriented, trying to catch her breath. Then she would lay back, calmed, and drift back to sleep.
I would wake with her, and lie silently, afloat beside her, and slowly, irrevocably, I would be carried out to sea, farther and farther, like so much flotsam.
We never talked about it in the morning, and I never told her I looked forward to those moments in the dark when I entered her world and became a part of who she was, so close yet so far away, borne this way and that, aware of the nibbling and the feathery fins and the miles beneath me I would never understand, the currents swirling, the fathoms folding in upon themselves, and the dark shapes swooping so far below.