Roland Flint

by

Excerpted from a longer work.

Grant us that we’re Roland Flint and that we’re not;
Yet who remembers Roland Flint? And who will
Remember him tomorrow? Mark Vinz, it’s true,
Marked Flint, remembered and was Roland Flint. But
    What was it he remembered? In
A poem he sees himself as Roland Flint, which makes sense,
Because he is Roland Flint. His act of remembering
    Is thus a thinking of himself;
Not a remembering of Roland Flint, no,
But still a remembering of Roland Flint. What then does
It mean to be thankful for good words, words that

Come from who knows where, as Vinz and Roland Flint
Were? Edward Hirsch remembered and was Roland
Flint, Hirsch, whose son would also die, who recalled
Roland Flint’s indignant anger at the first
    Gulf War, and his coincident
Attachment to his bourgeois life, his garden, the comforts
Of a home in suburban Maryland, the Tidewater
    Region, whose “subtle beauty and
Energy” Rita Dove felt Roland Flint’s work
To be “chock full of,” for Rita Dove is and remembers
Roland Flint, Rita Dove who described Flint as

“Roly poly” in the pages of the Washington Post.
Susan Kaye Rothbard remembered
And was Roland Flint. The writer
    John Balaban, known for his poems about
Vietnam and for his translations of Vietnamese
Poets, as well as poems from Romanian, also

. . .

For Roland Flint was a stout man, Roland Flint, who dreamed that
William Stafford would outlive him
And was surprised to hear that Bill,
    Sitting on a chair post run, got up, walked calm
As could be to his wife who’d called him to their kitchen, then
Fell down dead on their kitchen floor, Roland Flint who wrote a
Poem about Stafford’s death, who
Wrote about the lives and deaths of other poets he knew
Or admired, for of course he was those poets, Roland Flint
    Whose goal was to be counted among poets
Whether his work was read or not;

Flint, whose writing was an existential act
Of self-assertion, -preservation, -defense,
An almost compulsive urge to put pen to
Paper, although he tried to “quit poetry”
    Several times in his younger years
After getting some harsh rejections he could not forget;
Roland Flint, who wrote about his father’s rage and his own,
    Who wrote about how poetry
Failed to temper rage, who wrote about yelling. . .

Robert Farrell lives and works in the Bronx, New York. His poems have recently appeared in the journals Underwater New York and unLost. Originally from Houston, Texas, he’s a librarian at Lehman College, CUNY.