Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Paterson: Book Four, Chapter III, p. 191-92

* This poem is the second in a series dealing with the Haitian President of Williams' text. The first part can be read HERE.

Women to the Haitian President, upon Gathering at Dusk near Point Croix

who have been your lovers
have talked this through:

our beauty is collective.
It is spun
from the sameness of our contours,
it is outlined
in black, gathered
and flocking against
the background of our dusk,
where we have been threaded
over that losing light,
crossed and woven
in darkest silhouette
upon the loom;

and Yes,
the shape of breasts we know
are enough, more than -
doubled and doubling
the smaller joy of your
so much of us
in pairs
you'd say;

we say
your conclusions could only be
reached this way:

But Man,
who loved us each
divided, parts of
a whole seen so
great God, what you did not know
in this shadowed shape,

Our eyes;
twinned depths
of night, suns each
setting on waters paired
and equally bottomless.

Dearest man,
I say,
as I, as
I, as
I, as
what love,
love, love,
for this beauty
has been lost?

KMC 11-8-06

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Paterson: Book Four, Chapter III, p. 188-189

Virtue and the Death of the Grandmother


What is your virtue and
what has it become?

A process.
A bird.
Stout, with stringy flesh,
tough, peppered skin.

Oh do no,
do not eat that turkey--
she's barely cold.

What are we doing here?

Our lives,
because we are not the one dead
will go on, but not now no not now no.
Amuse her! Amuse him!

She is my muse and I refuse to go on.


Not now no not now no.
_____________________"But yes. The past is for those like me, though not quite
_____________________cold, cold I will be. And soon."
No not now no not now no!
_____________________"Your virtue, stout as it is, must grow stouter, must become _____________________more. Continue becoming. Go on."
Be coming and going?
_____________________"Yes. I am growing colder and you are growing stouter
_____________________and fatter. Do not limp."
Oh do not, I can not, oh what not can I say, oh how to end the awful wait?
_____________________"The wait will be light. It is the dark that will not be. It is
_____________________the now that I have that you will lament. Go. Become."
Become? Become? Not now! My God, my God why has thou--"
_____________________"Do not quote. Become. Go. Go on. You will find yourself
_____________________stout if you move. Go become."
But what of you?
_____________________"My self stiffens and grows colder. Come now, be going."
But what of becoming?
_____________________"Be coming and going."

gbs 11-6-06

Monday, November 06, 2006

Paterson: Book Four, Chapter III, p. 193

Another Letter from A.G.

Dear Doctor:

I'm writing to you because you
have forgotten something
I found it, walking the streets
nearest the River today
Do you know the Bourse,
Doctor? Of course
You know your town
as if it were you, sir -
that is to say:


But that sound that reaches
from the Manufactory
all the way down the channels
of streets to the very City Square
Dear God, the River, and the
sound of it
I wonder if you have grown used
to that which does not howl
as the Falls here
are wont to


I found the pubs, you know
the ones: off Mill and River Sts.
Godwin's is the place I
most move about these days
Quiet, as I'm sure
you know it is quiet, but
This past Wednesday, as
I walked the Bourse to
Mill, I saw a man
drunk and hanging out
over a balcony, tip-
ping in a chair, al-
most falling as the reek-
ing smell of propane
leaking from a pipe or
stove somewhere in-
side his house seeped
out from the cracks and the
drains of the place, flow-
ing down the narrows
of the alley, reach-
ing out to me and pour-
ing into me until I could
taste it, on the back
of my throat, thick but
sweet almond-gas swill
of it, ah, even as
I moved on and past
down the street
to my home


Watching this man sway,
I thought of you, of
what I found that was once
yours. But the water is
running, Doctor, and I'm off
to find what you found
in it at the start.
I hope this letter finds you well,
Doctor. What you lost is not
enclosed. But you will find it
if you run.