You Can’t Interrupt, Ha-ha

February 28, 2011

My dear Ha-ha—my friend—please, come sit in
a booth. We can’t really talk at the bar
now, can we? Clamor may be glamour, but
the noise up front is the noise of the brain.
Hirsute, difficult legends are—how shall I say?—
a hairy-scary truth. When we start with
the morning star, the evening star elbows
its way past the blood-brain barrier, so
to speak. Collective mind given a head, eh, Ha-ha,
in the guise of—imagine—the identity problem!
All bachelors are unmarried men.
They are reading the
Popol Vul in translation.
Sure, you see the difference, Ha-ha,
—one is analytic,
the other synthetic—but the mind
does not. All it
can understand is what it knows in absentia.

Just listen for a moment. Old Molloy
is reading first tonight.
Listen to the cadence of the Popol Vul, shh—

The doll-people are made
with faces carved from wood.
But they have no blood, no sweat.
They have nothing in their minds.
They have no respect for Heart-of-Sky.
They are just walking about,
But they accomplish nothing.

We have description without a place, a name
without a face, an island without its land—
and it all starts…it all
starts considerably before the sun.
You see, Ha-ha,
we can’t possibly interrupt this…
kiss?

(Popol Vul translation: Dennis Tedlock)

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3 Responses to “You Can’t Interrupt, Ha-ha”

  1. John Stevens Says:

    Thanks Jim. You sent me back to Les Fleurs du Mal and the introduction au Lecteur. Pretty gloomy that piece, so I dare say not much free will on my part there then!

  2. extrasimile Says:

    A clue? Clues? Okay. First, John, thanks for sticking with it. I ask myself if I came across a poem that started ‘My dear Ha-ha…’, would I keep reading? Surely one has something better to do with one’s time. So the first clue might be, perhaps ‘Ha-ha’ has to do with the problematic nature of poetry in my own mind.
    — Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!
    Baudelaire was talking to himself there, wasn’t he?
    The next clue—since you ask about the ‘you/ we can’t interrupt’ stuff—the next clue is: Perhaps nothing can be interrupted. Perhaps reality is seamless. You don’t believe all that free will stuff, do you?
    The third clue is—oh, but wait, the phone is ringing. I’ll have to let you figure out the third clue for yourself. Okay?
    (I know,i know,I’m insufferable.)

  3. John Stevens Says:

    As always I love the sound and feel of your poem, but once again I’m puzzling out the subject.
    So, for example, I enjoy the scene-setting in the bar and feel very comfortable with the way the natural syntax of speech works through the lines, often with a familiar traditional metre there too. And the last line brings a nice surprise.
    But what’s it all about? Popul Vul was no problem – solved in a flash with Wikipedia. The name Ha-ha was a puzzle – but perhaps you had in mind Minnehaha and First Nation Americans, which would underscore the reference to North American creation myths. But then I’m left wondering what you mean by “you can’t interrupt” & “we can’t possibly interrupt this”.
    The evolution of human societies? The eternal attempt to make sense of Life? Then the kiss – basic instinct – intervenes.
    A few more clues please Jim!


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