Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Usual Charts

A Wall (Scratch and Surveillance)

The day is
A fret complacency,
Finger to finger-

Board, working off
The usual charts.
A cold-slavering

Sky under pin-
Prick sun. Skimming
Through letters writ

By Virgil Thomson,
One sees he
Loved Thonon-les-

Bains and memory’s
Drover moves a
Morning up out

Of deep canister
Storage: how we
Hightail’d it out

Of the youth
Hostel and spent
The day spoiling

For a lift.
Took a ferry
Finally to Lausanne,

Revamping the itinerary,
And end’d up
Somewhere north, in

A wood’d village,
Shelter’d by strangers.
I think of

It now’s near
Where the fat
Industrialist Hans-Martin

Schleyer got it
A couple years
Later. Baader Meinhof

Gang. So goes
The recollect, robust
Enough to pull

A sweet curve-
Hugging rambunctiousness into
Itself. A German-

Engineer’d vehicle, it
Handles with enough
Spritz and dash

To encourage brash
Tilt and boogie
Up to a

Precipice, or down
To the end
Of a rope.

Thomson call’d Adorno
‘A very bright
Little man indeed’

And reject’d an
Article about Sibelius
Owing to ‘too

Much indignation,’ as
If dignity’d got
A leg up

Or a fin
Slipped to it.
Beyond me, musical

Nuance. I like
To think of
Junior Wells in

Conk and earnest
Biting off plaint
And vocable, precise

And tight-lipped.
Hoodoo man modesty
In a satin

Shirt with three-
Button cuffs, all
Release and retrieval,

Embouchure holding the
Moan against itself,
Chisel-sharp, rent.

Junior Wells, “Hoodoo Man Blues”