Fathom 1981



Inside Cover



John Bell (2)
Nancy Leslie (2)
Elissa Barnard
Larry Gaudet (2)
H. M. Westin
E. J. Mundell
H. M.
Margot Griffiths (2)


Paul Tyndall
Alexina Scott-Savage




Elissa Barnard



El Salvador

Reluctant dragging on the mind
at the warm, lively benefit for El Salvador,
the hot, wee Central American country
where revolution tears the hearts out of men
and leaves women oddly asking police for their dead,
away from the fields, awkward and cold,
and children with matted hair and matter-of-fact eyes,
tell the murder of father and brother to reporters,
no tears, no hungering grief,
only shy smiles.
In that crowded, steamy country
where bananas number the dead
and coffee beans burst in the sun
love is a forsaken word.

And here and now
in the city’s off-beat cafe
where a lean man with a woman’s voice
is reading Chilean poems
and posters cry, “Liberacion, liberacion.”
and people throw scarves over chairs
and smoke cigarettes.
Here, over hot wine and the auctioneer’s drone,
selling Salvador crafts to stop death
no one understands.
Now, over Maria’s baked beans
and Sarah breast-feeding her baby,
above and beneath the laughter and the talk,
the “isn’t it awful?” and
“damn the United States,”
is the reluctant dragging on the mind;
tearing amidst fragments of Christmas carols
and bits of a barely remembered day
is the gunning down of Yoko Ono’s only,
of the leader of the hopeful generation,
John Lennon, don’t let it be.
In the back end of North America,
a city in a province of towns,
who can realize the crass and the gaudy?
the crazed hero bred by neurosis and the push for fame,
the two staples of the 20th century west,
where women rear children alone
and men caress desk tops,
where money is fast and sex a commodity,
And, even here, where destruction is a slow eating away,
a dissipation of moral fiber.
not death,
and the sun glints off highrises, and fog
is hit by windows.
And here and now
Love is a forsaken word.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul