Tuesday Poetry with James Goertel: To Hold the Pale Fire and Cette in Corpore

Tuesday Poetry with James Goertel: To Hold the Pale Fire and Cette in Corpore

TO HOLD THE PALE FIRE and CETTE IN CORPORE from James Goertel’s new poetry collection, Under The Same Moon, contemplate mortality.

Tuesday Poetry with James Goertel To Hold the Pale Fire and Cette in Corpore

Photo of a fire taken with a 1/4000th of a second exposure. Photo credit: wikipedia


Suffocate the ego
With a pillow at night;

Sleeping Superman
Awakes just the same
In the morning;

Sips at coffee,
Drags at cigarette,
Reads from Freud,
Recites from Nietzsche;

Contemplates the end
By wandering backward
Through dreams to the beginning
Before love, lust, need, and want;

Wanting only to walk
In tandem with an id
Casting a coy shadow by day;

By night;

Trying in vain
To hold the pale fire
Of Death at bay.




Bring me the body,
The words have been written
As a funeral, as a wake
Where few wandered past
To view the life
In allegory, in metaphor,
In not so curiously absent rhyme
Considering life,
Not death,
Is the state
Without a discernible rhythm
If lived completely
Within its fits and false starts,
Beside its revenants,
In evanescent contradiction
To its inevitable cold kiss promise
Of mortality despite
Our best attempts
To hold at bay
That embrace,
To politely decline
That offer of a hand
In one last slow, spiraling dance
And to write our own epitaph
Before that morbid text
Stands in for flesh,
For thought, for feeling
Where a body now bereft
Of blood
Can only move among the living
Through their inchoate,
Inconsolate memories.


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon

James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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