Saturday, February 04, 2006

going backwards


We stumble onto the grounds of ronaldreagan, limestone and oak-studded, more substance than the man himself, it’s a traffic jam & we are against the grain, post-concert blitzkrieg for the exits, snakey miles of stalled new democrats, what were they thinking?

Into the parking lot, black beauty beside black truck sez the library is back “that way,” into the mess, adds you can park here & walk. Into a nearby shade—it’s Texas might as well be high noon—of oak and cactus. Young professor, waiter-balanced pile of

Books, sez not till tomorrow are they out, has that smart casual snazzy look they all have, even in flip-flops, 3 angels at the door point us down the hall of beautiful reds, stone and stained/scored sienna brown concrete, but the door is locked, 5 librarians

Oblivious, not a stir, back down to the 3 angels—angelitas, if that tells you anything (& in ronaldreagan no less)—hackeysack falls from second floor sky, a beautiful yellow-breasted hackey, gorgeous Guatemalan, but

Not much heft when i pick it up, the angelitas are oblivious, I’ve come to appreciate the lighter ones but this is ridiculous, still i like the colors, so I ask the face over the railing, where’d you get it, only now

As i write this poem do i get his obtuse reply, “of uh, PE class,” he might as well have thrown in “comma, Mister,” the first looking snazzy, but not smart, the litas apologize for the dead end, but we get there through the afterthought of an

Exterior door open to the public. Through the metal detectors, Walden looks for hiding places for his crystal ball & i am killing time in this gorgeous biblioteca for high school & the aged alike, wondering what

Kind of deal went down for that one, twice round, looking for children’s books, no luck, but it’s my turn, i’d told myself i was looking for thoreau or his ilk, but i’m not ready for the sixth go-round, all the books are so new & shiny as

If they too might lean all beautiful on a sleek bright truck, The Last Avant-Garde, by David Lehman, catches my eye and i, who’ve been steeped for months in Charles Henri’s (b. Brookhaven, Mississippi 1913) VIEW and all manner of avants

Prior to this last one, it’s subtitled The Making of the New York School of Poets, which surprises me since they were a long time gone bound, to have been plenty-avant since then, but at least, i think, i can find some berrigan and notley

But no, i am informed they are third & second generation ny school at best, the book jacket tersely informs me that Lehman, who

I once again have to remind myself is not the gay writer David Leavitt, not likely, of course, to mistake him for David Sedaris and there’s never any confusion with Nicholas Lemann, probably due to subject matter, but trying to remember how to spell his last name, well that’s another poem, the jacket tersely informs me that the book is about Ashbery, Koch, O’Hara, and Schuyler and goes on to say that it is Lehman not Leavitt’s contention that they were, truly, the last of the

Mohicans, so you know that as good as the book might be on it’s own, there’s going to be a point at which a whole lotta tedious academic bullshit is marshaled to sustain that spine-breaker and besides, of these four, Schuyler is really the only one i liked (actually, really liked) in the past, the 4th musketeer, i’m informed in later reading, which according to raquel welch would make him michael york (who for all practical purposes played Christopher Isherwood, which is interesting in

Itself, since Schuyler secretaried for Auden in Europe after the war)’s D’ Artagnan, which, coming in last in the publishing sweepstakes notwithstanding, still ain’t bad, but the book is awfully new&shiny cool black&white graphics and design and yes i know i should probably apologize or genuflect for the mortal sin of never having been all that hep to frank, not antagonistic, just not all that hep, sure he “figures,” but more in the way picasso&miles figure in the way i would rather hear wynton marsalis rap than play his horn, which is still better than ashberRy who i’ve always found impenetrable & halfway through the book still so at which halfway point i finally realize it’s only one “r”

& not a bright shiny new book (well, 1998, not that new, just not that checked out) riddled with typos but that, the book seems to suggest, might fit with the ashbery myth as poet (okay, at least in my head it might) & koch who in that same head has always been first, is it really pronounced cock and second, his books on teaching poetry to children very cool titles & now i read he did it in nursing homes too, which begins to endear him to me even more & of course puts yet another book on the list

Of ones to check out at the downtown not ronaldreagan library where L the books are not so new&shiny, as a matter of fact, Schuyler notwithstanding it’s Coke (i found out!) who starts to shine like a bright new copper penny who suddenly has me burning to write poems with tina again on her foot no less armenian/angelita foot who when after gorgeous avalonsex has me back at 3:30 in the morning for more body parts who has me a mere 6 ½ hours later in my son’s room scribbling this -