Sunday, June 05, 2005

The yin & yang of Christopher Columbus

The rabid
of the macaques
kept him awake
on his
to Europe. He
longed for
the soothing
plainsong of
the capuchins
of the

1 comment:

anders said...

The macaques carol = european religion.

soothing plainsong = irreligious

The "he" figure -- deployed as in Stevens.

Stevens-type distance between the actual existential self of the writer, and the artificed "he." The "he" is both more elegant and more classical. Than the real sweaty self. The late poems of Stevens -- a barely perceptible tremor of death and meditation. The way a Vermont mountain just sort of throws itself together as you climb it. An old man dreaming in the mind above a child. More distant even than the pastel mini Calder mobile thingies hung there in the darkness. Stevens did not relocate to Europe like Eliot, Pound. Hart Crane stayed in America ostensibly but even he got his dose of Mexico, Isle of Palms. Most of us haven't even left our backyards. Most of us have "Hunter's Creek" subdivision to say something godly about, not even Celan's concentration camp, not even the bright dent of bright coiling wire worm of kitchen intalgio
god's dice
"god don't play dice"

That night he wrote
That one letter to you,
The one you never knew about,
The one he shredded and put
In the metal trash can that came along with the
Dorm room. That time against the winter light.
That time in the nursery. The imaginary nursery.
That time too personal. That temporal in the personnel,
Bleak vein-light, bleating “the street is clear”
As incoherence (our name for paradise) crosses.
Think of some of the other crosses you’ve seen.
For instance, wood that is crossed
In wicker baskets.

Two wrists crossed and cuffed up to sunlight.

Dip your hand in a rushing sheen of could be a blur of wind or a
Extremely silenced sawblade. Could it be
Hid in the cuts. The caesurae. The breakages.
Could it all be explained to him finally one time
In a wise guy-police-style voice, could we
All just go there. Could being looked at
Did not bleed beyond becoming embarrassed

Could it me misty swirling sunset . . .

Could it be the monster only to be glanced at via mirror.

Could it be that which cannot be named directly.

Can this be the one place where the alien blood burns through.

The sole site to signify. Meaning importance. Meaning vanish.
Meaning insecure guys always want to stop being and start
Explaining. Meaning bogus. Meaning. Bogus.
To become visible out of a fear of silence.
The front edge curling of the disappearing dragon.
Snowflakes coming in and out of summer at both ends.
The polish leftover after a lover’s eyesight fails to vacate
The space of a much-used college avenue, a bike path,
Next to a graveyard peaceful in the summer, and who
Knows, a tuft of grass and dandelions at the nub of the divider
Laughing vixens, laughter-vespers at the verge.
For it to be laboriously and ridiculously “pronounced,”
Like, “specially introduced” “to all the people”
“so they can see” “day 59 of god’s return to Earth”
“final rapture” “uclea winte” “reenhouse warmi”
“aqi carb” “S the forgotten epidemi”

Try “o”
Try “eat”

Follow the minds

Go to “ealth”

Go to “eturn”

Go to “ternit”

Go to “o”

Go to “oursel”

Go to “el”


Go to:
The rabid
of the macaques
kept him awake
on his
to Europe. He
longed for
the soothing
plainsong of
the capuchins
of the

Caught in transit:

The rabid
of the macaques
kept him awake
on his
to Europe. He
longed for
the soothing
plainsong of
the capuchins
of the

Why don’t you pay more attention to/ok

The rabid
of the macaques
kept him awake
on his
to Europe. He
longed for
the soothing
plainsong of
the capuchins
of the

The poem reminds me of a specific anecdote regarding Wallace Stevens. It is said that Wallace Stevens had a very strange relationship with his wife. He never directly addresses it in his poems. She is a mysterious figure about whom various interpretations swirl since Wallace essentially left much of their relationship in silence and she was reticent. It is thought by some that she became a little simple-minded, from the years of isolation in the small apartment, then the big apartment, then the ritzy house, up in Hartford, CT. I search through his poems hungry to find the skeleton key that will unlock the mystery of the inner relationship, the inner experience (Bataille) of the relationship, between him and his wife. Is it perverse of me to want to explore this. Perhaps it reflects the jadedness of someone left alone a bit too long in the hallowed halls of poetry? I do not know. I start out, where at my most earnest, from a position of non-knowledge. Thus I do not know the truth about Wallace’ wife. It is reported she was highly beautiful as a young lady. In her late teens, it is reported, her face, her profile was used as a model for the Statue of Liberty, or this face on a coin, or something. No, it would just be too perfect if the banker’s frigid wife was a model for a drachma queen or the like. What would Wallace think about Genet? Probably hate him intensely. This afternoon I was reading Ginsberg’s interviews. Casually recites, about how he went to bed with Jean Genet, the famous French homosexual and novelist, who wrote his first novel in prison, and wrote it with stolen ballpoints on the cheap rough toilet paper . . . But the guards found the ms and threw it away . . . Flushed it away in chunks right there in front of him . . . As he . . . Secretly, the little perv . . . Plotted his revenge, about how he’d take the nothingness, and inflate them all into Great Huge Fairies, the cop, the juggler, the hood, the murderer, the pale boy eyes of the scandalous wife killer staring back, neutral eyes of JonBenet, vapid glance of Tommy Lee, vacant non-smile of the fertilizer salesman . . . Stevens lived with his wife in Hartford, Connecticut. This poem reminds me of Stevens:

The rabid
of the macaques
kept him awake

Cf. Stevens, the dreaming fisherman with the multicolored socks, blue circles with red circles, yellow circles with purple circles. The Stevens of the circling firecat, the line of the herd like streaming brushfire. The brave Stevens. Think: the Stevens of “To An Old Philosopher in Rome.” Stevens knowing his intellectual compatriot, Santayana, is actually dying. Tended to by nuns. In hallowed artifice of stone, church sanctuary. In the above image, we see an image of “macaques” that reminds us of Stevens’ nostalgia for the fantasy of the jungle. In this respect Stevens was a little like the dilettante who gets off on collecting weird old European maps of Africa with the strangest drawing for a lion, it looks like a romanticized pig, a gay bear . . .

on his
to Europe. He
longed for
the soothing
plainsong of
the capuchins
of the

Stevens referents:

1) Europe/Americas opposition. Query still valid with China, Japan, Euro.
2) capuchins: I will google the word: it means
White-throated capuchins have a white to ... White-throated capuchins, like many primates, enhance the health of the forest

an order of friars in. the Roman Catholic Church, the chief and ... In theology the Capuchins abandoned the later Franciscan school

3) plainsong = like a Stevensian referent to plainchant.

4) Query is the vox natura affected. Vox natura = embarrassed
Actual real you justtalkingonthephone.

I remember the time the van crept out
From the alleyway and I felt the road
Palpitating the cold handlebars,
I felt the steel gleam and crashed
Over the light-colored
Of the van --

Woke up
On my back
On the other side. Still in life. To know that --

What was it first brought me back. Made
Me know it was not heaven. Was it the comforting
Of the concrete sidewalk
Under my back.
Was it the smells
Of the paperbacks
At Nice Price Books in the rain, in the
Season -- any season -- to remember
It -- was it remembering
Brought me back.
Was it the slow
Wheeling clouds far up
Above my head rested
My hair not wet
Upon the sidewalk.

Was it this bright soundlessness

Of the clouds

Even now


My specialty, those
Days, was
Paper airplanes.

I had the special
Issue of Scientific American
None of the other kids knew about,

That had the most advanced
Paper airplane designs.
I found it necessary

With paper to fly.
Paper dolls, paper days.
The newspaper prays.


Peter knows that Paul thinks of Mary.
Peter thinks of Mary. Peter sees Paul’s face
Pressed up above his own, a pale coronal,
Peter gets deeply saddened, deeply

Paul does dishes in the restaurant, shrugging his face
To shake the sweat off the tip of his nose.

Peter works over at Kinkos.

Susan works.
But what,
He asks,
Staring over
The TV
But what/but what


The time he
Wept in a church
In Charleston,
About the soft furrines
Of the light, the expected handshake
And protection, of mere sunlight, at
Those times, when with stainglass,
When properly lit -- wide shadows
Along the sides
Of a long day’s journey . . .

Hanging moss
In the oldest graveyards
In the town -- glimpsed
Through the vault of a courtyard tunnel,

Graygreen clumps of stuff like dripped
Moss heaven
On twigs
And branches
Of the pine trees
And the oak trees
And elm streets, and a wizened alien
Lifted up in a wicker container tied
To the handlebars of a bike, as the
Godfather winces and clutches its
Chest it does, confused/ in the godfather’s image //
Wonde/ring // can y/ou tolerate th/is wo
Shall/wemake it woe
Shall/we make /word


When the world was created
You were young and beautiful.
Your hair was the trees,
You shook out the wind.

Blue bits of breeze stuck in your hair like pieces of cotton.

When you were
Young, your body
Was the body
Of the world