Wednesday, November 05, 2008

“Like the Things of Man”

Light and Shade


Detritus found in books: a
Slip of paper stuck in Paul
Gauguin’s Intimate Journals, a beat-
Up 1958 paperback edition, identifying
One Anna Kuchta of Haggerty
Road, b. 1939, a blond.
On the flyleaf: Detroit, 1960
(Traveled to Europe with me).

Underlined: Nail up some indecency
To be rid of respectable
and Only the sign-
Painter copies
—how is it
Such earnest impieties a half-
Century old and so eagerly
Wrought ought distress me so?
It’s not unlike Father Hopkins
Transliterating the woodlark’s mischievous song
“Teevo cheevo cheevio chee,” making
A bird out of nothing,
A beeswax’d encaustic of noise
Laid down with a palette
Knife directly, with merest hint
Of permanence, that color. Anna
Kuchta in black and white,
A smudged rotogravure, a plate
Unsliced of its binding, unleaving
“Like the things of man.”
Abandon’d is the definition of
A thing, motility the bruit’d
About lack it sounds like
A pistol shot ripping through
A coal mine, or wild
Laughter big as a circus
Tent in a tornado, everyday’s
Constancy moving along with a
Ticket to leave one behind.

Fidgeting in the aftermath, the morning.

“The poem will resemble you” (Tzara) versus “The poem is you” (Ashbery).

Stay’d up for the returns and the speeches and the colossally jubilant Grant Park crowds—recall’d the police riot there, the Chicago of 1968. Tears of disbelief and gratitude, relief and joy versus lacrymogènes in canisters—how impossibly different.

“Cautiously optimistic” fits to a T.

“To—and now comes the hard part—work.”

Paul Gauguin, “D’où venons nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?” 1897-98
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)