George Looney

George Looney has a poem that feels like a movie trailer from a winter tragedy, set in the American midwest. It is full of hints and references from a full evening’s conversations. The poem captures a shared sadness and frustration that the characters feel, but the reader is only allowed to see a few snapshot-moments from the darkness they describe.

Breaking the Surface (included by permission of author)

Loss, just the threat of it, drives us
to a nearby town with a bar
open another hour. In the parking lot,

the fins of old cars remind me
of monsters I believe
still break the calm of certain bodies

of water. Over gin we discuss
Lacan’s Other, its relation
to children pulled from the Ohio

Wright elegized. Both of us believe
the Other’s who we speak of
when we speak of things breaking

the surface, that the Other is
our disgust of ourselves
taking form. We rage against

how it creates legends. We’d like to
drop depth charges, leave it
for dead. All we can do is keep watch

and note the risings. Come this far
for gin, we hope to make it back
without loss. In Scotland, people gather

at Loch Ness with cameras to
capture what they believe in.
We believe what rises from any murk

is what we let loose. That it returns
to remind us words are born of loss
and to take us home when the last bar

open anywhere closes and the gin and talk
come to nothing—the way back
a dark state route where lovers pull off

and park in fields. All the way home
we know what’s happening,
fins breaking the surface of winter wheat.

George has a new book of poems, Monks Beginning to Waltz, coming out March 1, 2012.


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