January 26, 2005

there's room at the top for private detection

Off to Amsterdam...

Three Poems:

Nothing Happening between Two People in Amsterdam
--by Claire Fanger

after awhile I stopped looking for still lives
the tulips were too many for me anyway
& desire too strenuous
so we each went strolling our separate ways
seeking something that was not there
among the flowers and the flesh
the butcher shops and fish markets

conscious of how living in Amsterdam
must be like living in a diorama
of the 17th century I paused
before the woman pouring milk
into a bowl
                       That one
is my favorite
                       he said coming up
somehow unexpectedly behind me although
I must have been waiting for it
since he had said it before:
the milkmaid was his favorite

so predictable I'd no idea
how it would feel to be gathered up
into that moment of foreknown
accord that mutual yes that pure
fulfillment in the milky stream
forever stopped that instant
slotted into the stereopticon of time
down whose aperture we gazed
through Vermeer each wondering
what would meet the other's eye
love? shadows? conspicuous dust?
but nothing was said & soon afterward
we got our jackets & walked unchanged
out of the Rijksmuseum into what
had once been & probably still was
the afternoon sun

-- by John Sinclair

late one night
in the early ’60s
between sets
at the village vanguard 

charles mingus
was holding forth
on the current struggle
for black liberation 

& making a lot of noise
when monk walked up,
stood there & listened,
then shook his head 

& said to charlie,
‘goddamn, mingus,
I never knew
you was black!’

After Apollinaire
-- by Franz Wright

It's four o'clock in the afternoon
and its finished;
I sit back and light my cigarette
on a ray of dusk.
I don't want to write anymore.
All I want to do is smoke.


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