The Unfortunates: Poems

The Unfortunates: Poems

The Unfortunates: Poems

The Unfortunates: Poems


A unique collection of uncompromising poetic portraits written in the tradition of Masters, Robinson, and the verse portraits of Pound and Eliot. Each portrait has a specific, unsettling tale to tell, and the sum total of these poems provides a powerful commentary on contemporary life in the American fin de siècle.


North of Redding, off the interstate,
he sat on the roof of his Porsche in his wrinkled suit
and watched the cars zip by into the sun.
Sister Sarah’s letter, about the Prophets’
Retreat in Shasta Forest, lay in his lap.
Four days ago, he hadn’t shown up for work—
to cruise Route 5 from Hilt to Santa Ana
and back again—trying to settle his mind.

Years ago at college, in Ann Arbor,
amid the drugs and sex, another Sarah
had ditched him for a lying friend; so three
weeks later, he went to the “weekend seminar”
for lectures, singing, prayers, discussion groups,
and mindless chants, sleep deprivation, guilt,
and indoctrination. He’d never been so happy.
He dropped from school, and cut his parents off.

He worked from 8 till 8 for Father-Master,
selling flowers in the malls and luring
new recruits away from broken homes
and loveless lives—who found the commune full
of friends and purpose, occult mysticism,
and tranquil social visions for the future.
They also found, he knew, the comforting belief
that they were better people than everyone else.

Two weeks before his Master chose his mate,
he was abducted to a sealed motel
by Mr. Starks, deprogrammer, employed
by his parents. He recanted three days later:
Yes, the Master owned a New York mansion,

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