NORMAN FINKELSTEIN is a poet, critic, and Professor of English at Xavier University, where he has taught since 1980. His new book is The Ratio of Reason to Magic: New and Selected Poems, just out from Dos Madres Press.
Other recent books of poetry include Inside the Ghost Factory (Marsh Hawk, 2010) and the serial poem Track (Shearsman, 2012). He has published widely in the fields of modern poetry and Jewish American literature, and his most recent critical book is On Mount Vision: Forms of the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2010).
Norman is currently working on a book of essays to be published by Hebrew Union College Press, tentatively titled Like a Dark Rabbi: Modern Poetry & the Jewish Literary Imagination.
Word of Mouth Cincinnati, which began in January 2014, is co-hosted by fellow writers Jim Palmarini and Mark Flanigan.It was founded in memory of the late Aralee Strange who, after many years living, writing and producing work in the Cincinnati area, moved to Athens, Georgia where she co-founded Athens Word of Mouth.
WoMC is an intentional arc of both past and future utterance, inspired by our most revered voice, with a nod to her Athens, GA compatriots. Word of Mouth asks poets to Show Up, Mouth Off and Pay Attention.
Admission to Word of Mouth Cincinnati is free and open to all ages, although some content may contain adult themes and language. MOTR Pub 1345 Main Street Cincinnati, OH 45202.
When he came out of the mirror, a wind
from elsewhere was blowing his hair. I can’t
read those books anymore; the past was never
like that, but then again, neither was the
future. I can’t read those books because of
the roads, because of the rooks, because of
the way the car stalls, night falls. This rhyme
measures the ratio of reason to magic.
Every break indicates that something has
slipped through. Eventually they all sound
alike, the ones who escape and the ones
who dazzle the audience because they have
come back from the dead. One made a deal
with the inventor, one made a deal with
the lord of that music, thin and sad and
faraway. In the book he spoke Latin.
In the movie there were many hats.
* * *
Welcome to the Immanent Foundation.
Our headquarters are located in a large house
on a hill above the beach. Our headquarters
are located on a large estate in a forest of oak
and beech. This estate is called Arcady,
or the Memory Palace. After the house
burnt down, it reappeared in a grove
adjacent to the garden. This is the Reading Room.
Here we conduct the tests that measure
sensitivity to light, to time, to daemonization.
This is the Room of Lost Manuscripts
and this is the Room of Manuscripts Recovered.
After the notebooks were gathered and burnt,
they were found beneath the cherry trees by the gardener,
who then climbed into the sky and disappeared.
This is the Master Bedroom, where the Master
sleeps and speaks. This is the Ballroom,
which is adjacent to the Chapel, where we
celebrate the marriage of the sun and the moon.
The light from these globes has been captured
on nights when the moon is full, when she comes
to her husband. They converse and make love
all night long. At daybreak there is a procession,
there is a celebration, there is a moment
of utter stillness in which all evaporates.
Let us retrace our steps. That door leads
to the labyrinth, which is currently under repair.
The walls are painted with images from
the Psychomachia, but they have faded
and need to be restored. We are presently
seeking support, earnestly seeking, the scryer
peering into the stone even on moonless nights.
There are angels in the stone. All their names
begin with the letter A.