Archive for April, 2010

Krazy Kat, Bert the Kat

April 26, 2010

To fictive environments blood is the fee.
—James Merrill

The door’s not closed, not locked anyway—
so Bert the Kat crashes—
and we can’t call the cops—
we don’t anyway—
maybe I invited him.
One eye sports an eye patch,
like he’s a pirate on a skateboard
or something.
He’s way too skinny; he’s wasted, dirty.
We’re all sitting on the floor, passing
a joint around. It hasn’t helped
that he’s been listening to all this
cerebral pothead stuff about
John Cage and the Buddha, the Atman and
the Brahman—

Once he gets going, though,
Ignatz Mouse and Officer Pupp,
leap right from Krazy Kat, word for amazing word.
The Kat is in the house—

Officer Pupp: I saw you toss that brick
at that ‘Kat’, you wen. And don’t tell me it was the you
in you that did it—it was you just you.

Ignatz: It was truly I who did it, “Officer Pupp”,
but it was the me in me that willed it.

And it’s the you in you that I should arrest,
is it?

Sure it’s the me in me that’s to blame.
So it’s the me in me that you should arrest.

All right. I’m arresting the you in you.

—but you’re also arresting me—

Well, if you can get away from the you in you,
you’re a free man.

*

Here is a poem I wrote called ‘Taxidermy’.
Like it?

All we have is our ignorance. Our life
ends more in slime and spittle than in dust.
Thought, though, must end in happiness, right? Like
it’s always been day light, it’s always dawn—
Thought is sun; it’s bliss; thought lives
in heaven—slime and spittle can go puke
against the wall. This must be why we leave
our old birth names behind; why we invent
a ‘Bert the Kat’. It’s stuffed. It’s taxidermy.

*

It’s late, it’s dark, the party’s over. Too
much beer and pot. Or maybe not enough
beer and too much plot—
Anyway, just Bert and me
sitting in a tree
k-i-s-s-i-n-g.
‘Krazy thinks of Ignatz in the same way,’ he says.
‘The same way—?‘

(She thinks of him as a kind of imperial
lover? The world’s extension in the self?
Like the ‘I’ of the self and the ‘I’ of God’s self
Himself? A kind of divine meeting?
A paradigm of freedom?)

The Kat, he looks at me. There’s blood
all over the floor like
someone has cut himself—
and badly. It can’t be me.
I didn’t say that shit out loud, did I?

Like this, he says. When Krazy crashes a party,
she comes as a cartoon, just for poor Ignatz,
just to look at him—

—that we could all be Krazy—
—that we could all be cartoons—
—that we would not die from AIDS—
—which he does—
—shit—
—all that shit—

Ignatz, Krazy, they meet in jail, you wen.
And don’t you tell me it’s not the you in you…



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This Great Stage

April 17, 2010

The way he tells it, it sounds like this guy
invented the spring’s first breeze, you know? Air
to breathe, the wind to fly on, atmosphere
incarnate:  his kingdom is like a kite,
so callow, incongruous on the ground.

Indeed, it’s one enormous piece of steel.

It’s bent, held taut by thin steel cords,
shaped like a huge kite, like it could fly. Like
it could fly to the moon and back. ‘So the deaf
can hear it sing,’ he says. He plays a chord.
‘So the blind can see it fly…’

It’s like I’m standing next to the space shuttle.
Somehow you want to shout, but can’t. You can’t
be heard. Even its silence is a palpable thing.

When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools…

Postcards, Unsigned

April 2, 2010

The First Card

An adventurous ‘hello’ from Hollow Head
Island! Apologies about the penmanship.
It seems the postcards shake these days,
not the volcanoes, not the earth.
So far we’ve been to the Stalactite Park,
the Gotterdammerung Grotto, hid in
the Hidden Caves, got lost in the Lost World.
We even walked some of the Infinity Trail.
No one finishes that, I guess. Ha-ha!
Abandonment in extremis. Ha-ha!

The Second Card

Another ‘hello’ from Hollow Head Island!
Yesterday we took the ‘Journey to
the Center of the Earth’ tour. Down, down
into a deep crevasse, two miles to see
the Rorschach Sandstones! I shall have
to write to you about panpsychism,
about the ‘antecedents problematic’.
It was like being inside a volcano.
The tremors remain inside of me. How can
I even think at all? Remind me. Was it
Protagoras or Pythagoras who jumped
into the volcano? The antecedents thing
suggests ‘he jumped’ sufficient, precedent
enough, enough to be a god.

The Third Card

A hollow ‘hello’ from Hell! Yes, from Hell.
Where do names come from? This Hell is
a sleepy fishing village and the best
spot that we’ve found on Hollow Head,
a Sleepy Hollows, so to speak.
We are in the ‘Bridegroom’, a little Bed
and Breakfast, run by a Rip Van Winkle
wise enough to know it was Empedocles
who jumped into Mount Etna. Empedocles!
Is my face red! Yet it will glorify
my pronoun to perfection—‘he jumps’. Yes,
both poetry and philosophy ought
to have the same antecedent. They forge
a world that’s capable of consciousness.
The self, per se, remains vestigial—
the voice of the volcano, not its source.
Your pronoun is the antecedent, not
your noun. Problematic resolved. Perhaps
I will go for a walk in Hell, perhaps
I will take the air, take the breezes.
A wonderful day in Hell! Ha-ha!

The Last Card

You ask no questions; I provide the answers.
Greetings, my friend! We have moved on from Hell.
Today I stand in surf up to my knees.
Imagine: liquid rock, a steaming sea,
the battle of fire with water, land
like iron being forged, the earth refreshed.
We must make this moment a postcard from
infinity. My friend, I need your help.
This message, like our hope for life itself,
must be left unattributed. It must
be left an unresolved antecedent.
Think of Empedocles poised at the mouth
of that volcano, Etna’s edge. He is
about to enter this world’s soul. He is about
to die. We are all thrown into the world.
Empedocles, the poet philosopher,
must hear a  voice from far into
the future, a voice from today that will
insure his resurrection, one
to clarify his immortality.
Write something in the sand for him to see.
There was something more,
something more divine,
more bestial…
Write that. Leave it unsigned.
For I have been ere now a boy and a girl,
a bush and a bird and a dumb fish in the sea.
Write that. Knowledge will come.