E.S. Cormac


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E. S. Cormac

What time is it
Clothes will be ready for dryer in 5 minutes.
Maybe 10. The sky is North Atlantic gray but the ocean isn’t here.
The sea is obscured by mountains and a 40 day walk through Sinai

Muslins are no longer vogue
hurry to the garment district wrap Iman in pajamas
no matter the time. It is near 5 in the evening to be clear
Norma Jean’s skirts are safe
There are no vents on the sidewalks, or used condoms
just stubbed out cigarettes, fast food wrappers, a tiny ziploc
The habits of Miss Moss are still in style

Inside supermarket with a vague iterations
Passing Ophelia in Wellingtons twice in the aisles
Clothes to be dried in 20 minutes
Cyrus or Montana staring out so cosmopolitan out of step
Not a semblance to her contemporaries
Babies with babies with babies
Sarahs draped in polar fleece and velours

The capacitor house is gone to China its workers
cleaned up their own mess then sat idle turning into
a museum. You would like it your friends would all be there
and it is a short drive to Olana

It is 5:45. In an hour the lighthouse atop Masada will glow
ruining ships along its escarpments
Folded clothes pass a hand painted sign
that reads DANE’S.

Why did I leave Ophelia in the willows
forever a clambering muse caught stealing glances
I will wear my rue with a difference

Frank O’ Hara wrote poems with a quiet contemplativeness absent of the loud flamboyance of Ginsburg’s beat style, or the pure confessionalism of Lowell. Lampooning Olson’s projective verse essay with his own treatise on, “Personism,” O’Hara maintains that his poems are intended to place poem, poet, and an audience of one together. That through this intimacy poetry is most pure, damn, “Propagandists for technique….and for content.”
O’Hara’s poems read true to his manifesto in technique and style. The poet’s voice is heard in the stanzas, lightly commenting on the contemporary world around him. At times they are quietly confessional without the usual heaviness. They also contain some of the modernist technique for vague references to high art and literature, without becoming epically bogged down. O’ Hara is able to balance low and high art.
His, “I did this then I did that”, cadence like the confessionalist, and the beats is something that has been imitated since his death. O’ Hara’s death by dune buggy cut short a life of poet.


E.S. McCormick studied graphic design at Sage College in his hometown, Albany, New York. In 2006, he joined the military and has deployed three times, once to the Mexican border along southern Arizona, and twice to Afghanistan. He draws his short stories from experiences while serving in Afghanistan and the realities of coming home from conflict. More than personal memoir he strives to add a voice to the lives of those that experienced the conflict, both soldiers and Afghans alike. After returning from a yearlong tour in Southern Afghanistan during 2008-2009, He decided to pursue journalism and studied at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams MA. In 2009, he received an award for excellence in academic research from Hudson Valley. E.S. McCormick currently lives in the Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts.

Ghazal For Ginsberg

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 Ghazal For Ginsberg


E. S. Cormac

Tell us this story, goddess daughter of Zeus, beginning at whatever point you will.

I have studied your immense enumerations grey beard

I carefully crafted lines in response to shopping list strophes jazz beard

Thrown away to mind’s inner recesses and 182GB of RAM that’s all I have left either way

It is our pleasure to report neon fruit hydrogen jukeboxes the least of worries, father beard

It started off beautiful lines echoing your madness devoured minds of generation

Poseidon’s blinded children air out intimacies despite song of emperor’s fiddle, vigilant beard

It lead away to Troy’s shores and roster of ship’s crews using exacting turn-o-phrase

They snap fingers in cafe bravo to poetic truths of high school journal keepers now, beat beard

Lines stopped weary of flowing thoughts returned to foreign fiord

Struggle self society is it lost in transliteration mouthings, pariah beard

I am tired of them. I am tired of their flying circus. I don’t want to be a clown. I want to look outside

IWW, CCCP, LBGT, your Spartan Phalluses battled Barbara Billinglsy boulevards kabala beard

I will no longer write of the I, the me,  the we, the ours.

It is our pleasure to report, sertraline, fluoxetine, replace cerebellum scars now, committed beard

I will become Clipper of Coupons for Packets of Tea. I, soldier of emperors, swear, grand beard.

I am having a slow epiphany beatnik beard.

The beatnik poets as a whole, and Allen Ginsburg in particular, struggled against the norms of society. Through verse and prose they spoke of taboos, railed against mainstream America, and confessed dark desires in a style that also rebelled against the formal literature of the time. Whether through translation or imitation this style is what is most remembered and copied today. Hidden in the human caricature that has become the Beat Writer’s are the real life struggles of men against their society. A society they felt alienated from somehow.

I, Saladin, To Nobody in Particular

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A Response to Charles Olson

by E.S. Cormac

I, Saladin, To Nobody in Particular

Wandering idle down Styx lanes

Periwinkle, Crimson, safflower

hues assault windshield unrestrain’

battlement’s arrows shower.

Shall I sit upon the shore fishing?

With the sea stretching out from my feet.

      Or speak of undone business?

Of breath

          of ears

                of syllable, syllabus, syllabic

Oh Glowster Man

   (that is how the ears hear it)

My spatial nature geometry is lost now

buried beneath billboard

advertising gleaming teeth

and all manner of elixir

                and what watches

                           and what wears

         I want to fit

I want to shine brighter than the fifty stars that glint atop Metropolis

        I want that piece

        I want that peace

I held that gun at them

     for the confusers for the Brooks Brothers cloistered minions

I held that gun

           watching as we lay siege at Ma’arra.

                          How they feasted

Across winter windshield

giants stand gleaming teeth on black ribbon roadsides

 Fear Not Citizen!

                get the yellow out 

                             drink this

                                         tune in tonight at nine)


Go Icharus

fly  where you can never reach

             fly and I will follow

My ship’s mast melts with wings

        to cause quarrel over the loss of golden armor.

There are riches enough to be satisfied in Troy

          In Troy

where Dear Fathers, Fearless Leaders, Benevolent Uncles

Bearded Revolutionaries smile down on us all



                  for the chance to purge

O Commerce O Commerce

I repent

My teeth dream of the day they can gleam

sublime ego sentence strands removed from shores

blown to glass

      situated in teethly tower rows

          erect Testaments to our fathers named

Sears, Comcast, Chrysler, Key and Bank of America I and II

O Commerce O Commerce

I repent I am Redeemed for five cents

Do not discard me in your Gulag Archipelago

         I am not so poor, you will make no great profit

    Do not discard me in a home of wayward Roman D.J.s

         In twelve plus twelve I would never produce a cantos

Oh Glowster Man

    Do you hear me?

       Was this percussive?

          Was it PROJECTIVE?

I want to wander through brilliant stacks of cans

I want to act after taken thought

I want to fight no more forever

Oh Glowster Man

    Do you hear me?


has been replaced by yet another glowing blue screen that can paint the windows of Suburbia

The keys still clack

but even as we speak they are being replaced…

                                                               By what says you?

         by shiny glass and aluminumy tablets says I

                                                                Like His word says you?

    better says I

       they gleam of billboard staring toothuses


Charles Olson’s poetry and essay, “Projective/ Verse” are the antithesis of the New Critic School of writing. Although Olson is scholarly and fills his stanzas with learned quotes and references, he departs in every other way from the New Critics. Embracing all the features of modern printing Olson breaks his verse up according to how it should be spoken or into ‘breaths as he calls them. His open verse or Composition by Field is formed free of iambic meter. Instead Olson prefers to concentrate on the kinetic nature of the poem, Olson also carefully points out that all metaphor, objects, or anything else that would interrupt this kinetic flow must be omitted.