We are having tea and
dobosh torte, my mother
and I, dressed in hobble
skirts and buttoned boots,
in Peacock Alley of the
–from “My 20th Century”
For ages and ages, they couldn't have seemed less simpatico---street songs turned Brahms' insane cadenza turned sharpening crack.
Which reminded you of all the novels you might have inhabited, of your daddy the routeman, of Easter's spice-flavored jelly eggs, of the rowdy oleander, of the women at the xerox place, so petty. How privately (you simmered) Time can walk, or fall.
–from “The Nature of Things”
Over there, a fly buzzed---bad.
All ours: the bra, the breast, the breeze.
Starlet of the reciprocal gaze.
Something about her rhymed like mad.
In ballet, there are only primary relationships.
I lay down prepared to acknowledge that,
hugging my ribcage with a ballet-like gesture.
That's all. You supply the story.
After a while I felt much worse. The maples
went from yellow to blue and back.
Maybe I had no inmost soul,
only a crimped, crabbed, bitter kernel.
–from “My Analysis”
The Godfather: Part III
Now that the mother-child bond is
slackened by multiple caregivers,
Freud is passing away like God
did. Good novels make moribund
movies. Middling novels make good
movies. No novels: bad movies.
The only dead novels: good movies.
Never make two when you can make three.
Might I but mourn tonight in thee!
Home on the Range
Udderly dull. I have to wonder,
why this need to produce bad dull art?
Dull high art, certainly. Bad fun trash,
by all means. But to forego splendor
and pop? My daughter recognizes
Judi Dench as a cow; which repays
the two hours wasted, the vile snacks—-
that and her soft fierce mind whirring next
to mine in the dark. And so I return
to my themes: vision, mother, art.
Ben Franklin was pretty,
his long hair curled.
Things occurred to me
before they occurred to the world.
A toddler tugging her
said, Get the Grail, but
first slay the dragon.
Our own ideas, our own views,
our own prejudices, mistakes
didn't matter much.
There were piles of leaves to rake,
–from “American History (A Fearsome Solitude)”
JOY: You expected what? If you don't excel, you're expendable.
BUD: Oh I don't have resentments. There you go again putting emotions where there aren't any.
JOY: Sure. Same rules don't apply I get it. Feeling a bit threatened again because I hit too close. I understand. Keep talking.
JOY: Because, and try to follow me snapshot, we don't know each other.
BUD: So we're neither of us perfect. Well, there's a newsflash.
–from “The Status Seekers: Richard (Bud) and Joy”
Woke with a start at 3:00 and decided to write a paper and felt like I was dying and kept things in their proper perspective
since the media has been the most horrifying experience of my life.
For with predictions of the past two nights
I chemical, nuclear, biologically warfared on our turf.
The world's amok. The world's
a lanyard I am plaited in.
The world's a thing for tears.
The world's the lining of my skin.
So I sized up the world—
the way it interrupts itself—
and wondered if I told
the story only to myself.
–from “Romantic Depot”
As I walked on the deer path, I reviewed, as is my long-standing habit, my prospects. If I expect more, I wondered, will I get it? One deer sped by in a small, trucklike vehicle and shouted FUCK! at me through the open window in an unmistakably cruel way. But deer are gentle creatures, I thought, vegan all their short, placid lives.
–from “The Deer Path”
Your ardor comes on like a pun,
making the most of
all possible significances.
–from “Your Ardor”
Of course we are
fascinating to ourselves.
What we did for art,
what we did for sex,
mastered the world
on the meadow floor.
–from “The Arrival of Spring”
All song is formal, and you
Maybe felt this and decided
You’d be formal too. (The eyeliner, the beehive: formal.)
–from “Amy Winehouse”
When I look a cow or pig in the eyes, I see a person I don’t feel that way about salmon
I have kept I have lost my religious faith I’m eating a salmon
The salmon died in terror and agony I’m eating him with a vinegar sauce
Hartsdale “is not down in any map, true places never are.” (Melville)
In Hartsdale she makes her “effort at conclusion.” (Dickinson)
In Hartsdale, her last night, I scrubbed the stove, which had been neglected.
I rubbed her back.
Neither big nor small but massive and cold,
her bright face shone no more.
–from “What Is Death”