Thursday, December 04, 2008

Simic, Greenstreet, Harmony & Opposition

Another day in December, and a couple more poems. Outside of that, my thinking today is about the role of art as oppositional force as well as harmonizing force. The question of oppositional to what and in harmony with what is keeping me guessing. But I like the push and pull of it. There’s difficulty in the given, the accepted. Opposition to the accepted, then. And there’s sympathy to the way the world is the world. Harmony with that, I guess. Oh well.

Charles Simic
Dream Avenue

Monumental, millennial decrepitude
As tragedy requires. A broad
Avenue with trash unswept,
A few solitary speck-sized figures
Going about their business
In a world already smudged by a schoolboy’s eraser.

You’ve no idea what city this is,
What country? It could be a dream,
But is it yours? You’re nothing
But a vague sense of loss,
A piercing, heart-wrenching dread
On an avenue with no name

With a few figures conveniently small
And blurred who, in any case,
Appear to have their backs to you
As they look elsewhere, beyond
The long row of grey buildings and their many windows
Some of which appear broken.

* * *

Kate Greenstreet

How many times can you bang one small body,
he said, and have it not
be a form of torture.

Up a lot last night—waiting for the pain
to move. With the now discredited
fever, “traveling fever.”

When you notice that huge
parts of your

are missing. I made it out of what it looks like.
Ivory black, lamp black, mars
black, words from a book.

He’s gone to Rome, it’s his favorite city.
I call it “my black velvet”—that
day. That night, or day.


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