Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday commute clxiii: The walk

Cynical counsel soiled the land again
today, as the President of the United
States teased the People with bon-bon
treats of temporary mercy for his fav-
orite whipping-boy, his captive con-
stituent without papers. Yes. His own
constituents are all persons subject
to the equal protection of our laws.

He does not understand this. He does
not understand anything having to do
with his Office. For each reluctant
day we share or suppress conscious-
ness of this affront, its cost, its
ignominy in humanity's helpless wit-
ness, his fattening on the nation's
humiliation is protected by no law,
but by a Party which claims, lions
in secured cages, to find no wrong.

The path through this wilderness re-
veals itself as a caravan, correct-
ing disbelief and passive torment.
An internal migration, overdue, is
under way, approaching clearing.

     After hard rain the eaves repeat their beads,
     those trees exhale your doubt like mantled tapers,
     drop after drop, like a child's abacus
     beads of cold sweat file from high tension wires,

     pray for us, pray for this house, borrow your neighbor's
     faith, pray for this brain that tires,
     and loses faith in the great books it reads,
     after a day spent prone, hemorrhaging poems,

     each phrase peeled from the flesh in bandages,
     arise, stroll on under a sky
     sodden as kitchen laundry,

     while the cats yawn behind their window frames,
     lions in cages of their choice,
     no further, though, than your last neighbor's gates
     figured with pearl. How terrible is your own

     fidelity, O heart, O rose of iron!
     . . .

The Gulf and Other Poems
  The Walk
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969©

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Origins of Wednesday lxxxvii: Close calls we have known

    One can just hear the guffaws
    of the actuarily deprived, at
    the sight of this antiquarian
    call box, stuffed full with a
    single listener, not a speak-
    er button to be found. On the
    other hand the luxuriant sup-
    ply of cord permits a grovel-
    ling on the paving for spills
    of coins and pencils and oth-
    er accessories of documenting
    a purchased conversation. The
    closest call of this type I'm
    aware of, this week, was that
    escape from lunch at the Ex-
    active Mansion to work a deal
    to bail its tenant out. Wrong
    way to exit that predicament;
    on the other hand, nice save.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday nibbled sleeve ii

Have you noticed? Our satirists
are doing their best to beat
more dust of hilarity from the
grounded magic carpet of the
New American Government. But an
appetite which has expired is a
tough one to appease; and one
can't be sure it's the fault,
say, of Alexandra or Gail that
evidently even they have seen 
the corpse. If the first duty
of a menace is to be credible,
the first one of despotism is
to hold the pose for Voltaire.

Heaven knows, Palm Beach always
had been somewhat thus. A com- 
munity founded by migration is
never going to resemble one in
place before rails. More and
more the pretenses of the NAG
recall ever more loudly this in-
teresting tardiness in its path-
etic fumblings for greatness, as
if it were just noise and steam.

And yet, earnestness claims per-
haps the heaviest toll. The four
dollar magazine cover of the week,
suspiciously possibly of the year,
is not of a ruinous goon, but the
gathering of reluctant faces, all
bearing a set and sodden stamp of