Monday, July 9, 2012
Dog in My Dog
The sun is distracting me this morning, so are
and the bony peach tree with
its four dangling
and dehydrated peaches.
The grass is burnt brown—there's been
no rain here for a while, and just
as well, after all I'm
why, I'm not sure—I prefer dank cellars, cities,
where rusted nails from a lost century
hold the edges aligned
and the entire contraption vibrates
like a steam engine blowing
off its organs.
Nature is brutally deceptive, all surface,
decrepitude, can't tape the decay,
only the movement, and I'm
prone to ask if a rock can have
a soul, why can't a building?
Perhaps it's my mental
and physical misalignments.
I see through
a fifty-percent black circle that fades
a few seconds after
I open my eyes, a dangling and dehydrated
pathology through which my art becomes
my art, or should,
because so many artists I know
filter out their deformities.
Oh, they overcome them,
even make sure you appreciate their
particularity, but they don't paint them.
It seems to me your deformity
is what you are, all else is replication.
For example, if
this human bacterium I know, whose secretions
coagulate on the walls,
were to depict his DNA, he could
perhaps create an indelible monument,
a twisted bronze with Gehenna-like
squiggles that could shake
us out of our pinafores.
Ah, so caustic!
But he strives to be digestible, only to stumble
like a satyr,
even when he shovels
the old lady's snow next door—
such a good neighbor, wants to make you weep—
like the poet presenting
his National Book Award prize money to
an antiwar group in a
a melodramatic flourish of
rebellion but as an lit-mag editor
mailing insulting rejection notes to
Lover of Mankind, Hater of People.
talking about his friend Bonnard:
"You know, Picasso didn't
like Bonnard, and I
can imagine why,
had no tenderness."
In disease there is progression,
or is there just disease?
You can doctor yourself up
to a point and then you lash out
or you fester,
but you don't produce, you stand still,
which is what terrifies me because I'm so full of
few can outwait me.
When you hammer steel,
it just gets harder,
and Kim Sun Myung ought to know,
spending 43 years in jail
because he refused
to renounce Communism.
And I refuse to renounce it, too—
not because I believe in it,
but because others don't.
I'm going to pull the shade down
over this bright
scene, neutralize it before it
boozes me up.
This is what thinking is, not puking—
you don't study the whiteness of a shade,
at it and back off into yourself
where there are
clowns, high-wire acts,
an old idiot who Guillaume observes
wears "a blouse
of a rose-violet that dances on the cheeks
of certain young girls
who are near death."
Disease, decrepitude, who
knows the order of decline,
the exact moment you live through
a thousand times but will not survive
a thousand and one?
It's the blanching that gets me. If I
could only go out in a blaze of
comic-book color . . .
Big things get particularized,
too massive to live with
one chews, breathes, mourns, but one senses
the small things . . . only after . . .
destructive, they can dampen survival,
extinguish it . . .
The minutia, the maggots, the remarks,
scarier than enormities,
unnoticeable, they compile,
one cocks his head,
"Did he say that? Did I hear that?"
Maggots in my life, you're small,
insignificant, but you ignite
my survival. Small things are scary,
scarier than big things.
They're unnoticeable and can be seen
only when you squint.
Some can be stepped on, sprayed,
but never eliminated, constantly driven
into sockets from where
they peek out like rodents,
impersonal, infectiously, crazed.