Originally published in Willow Springs 84

From the author

Notes on “Lost Language #11” & “Narcissus in the Underworld #9, #26, #28, & #29”

These poems were born of a larger project: a series of three long sequences in a single book entitled Scar.  The first sequence from that book is the title sequence—a poem that explores trauma, fracture, and the search of a mind alienated from itself and others.  In my next sequence “Narcissus in the Underworld,” I first set out to look at the internet as a kind of contemporary hell that had, instead of concentric circles, more of the un-centered, un-mastered, infinite and unruly—something imagined as a totality but never experienced as such.  I thought of modern loneliness as a shared condition, a kind of narcissistic wound that sets us on our journey.  In rereading Dante, I found a kindred struggle that challenges the empathy in the book.  It exposes the problematic nature of an exclusive, if not sadistic, moral order.  Dante’s hell is to me a psychological space, still alive in us, still oddly compensatory, destructive, inspirational, and worthy of understanding.  In many ways, the obsessive-compulsive and self-centered means of negotiating anxiety engenders extremities of both law and lawlessness, both of which disengage us from one another.  The third section of my book Scar—“The Lost Language”—was written last, and there I explore, via the theme of music, the sense of loss and longing and sublimities of the unspeakable and near at hand that haunts all language.


Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

I run all my poems by two people: my wife and my cat.  My wife is the best critic I know.  For me anyway.  Somehow, she gets me and I her.  Our recent 35th anniversary was a good day.  My cat too gets me, though he cannot understand my poems.  I respect that and his undying patience as I read them aloud.  I also respect my cat’s apparent lack of any sense of failure or success.  Good kitty, I say.  It’s my way of saying, “The End.”  I can’t explain it, but I find his tiny repertoire of priorities oddly inspiring. 


Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-three books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018). Presently he is a Regents Professor at the University of North Texas.